A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

February 24, 2016

February 2016 Workplace Safety News and Notes

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

Oil & Gas Industry Step Up for Safety in March

OSHA has announced a Step Up For Safety program for the upstream oil and gas industry in February and March 2016. The Step Up for Safety website includes a variety of resources employers can to plan and conduct site inspections, safety training and other activities. Learn more here.

OSHA Introduces Improved Completion Cards for Outreach Training Program

Students who complete 10- or 30-hour basic safety courses receive completion cards. Starting in March, the completion cards will be made of more durable stock - similar to a credit card - and include authorizing logos, a watermark when copied and a QR code for authentication. New student cards will show student name, trainer name, date of issue and the OTI Education Center that produced the card. Trainer cards will include name, trainer ID number, expiration date and more. The OTI Education Centers will maintain an electronic database of authorized trainers and students who have completed classes. This will allow employers and workers to authenticate their card via a QR code on each card. OTI Education Centers will charge $8 for new cards, compared to $5 for current paper cards. The cards are expected to reduce fraud. Read more details on the new cards.

NIOSH Ladder Safety App Now Includes Step Ladders

January 2016 OSHA Fines Total $1.5 Million

OSHA proposed just 11 significant fines in January, totaling $1.53 million. Common citations included fall hazards, machine guarding and lockout / tagout violations. Here are details from some cases, which may still be pending final decisions.

$188,760 and SVEP for fall hazards at a Massachusetts contractor

fall protection required
OSHA inspectors found employees risked falls of more than 26 feet from an unguarded roof and an improperly constructed and erected ladder-jack scaffold. Additional hazards found at the site included lack of safe access to the roof and scaffold, not inspecting the scaffold and its components for defects, failing to remove nails and debris from the work area and lack of head protection and safety glasses. The company has a history of OSHA violations, and was cited for two willful, seven repeat and seven serious violations.

$171,870 for willful amputation hazards at an Alabama auto parts manufacturer

The company received one willful, five repeated, 10 serious and one other-than-serious safety violations including failure to develop, document and utilize specific procedures to prevent multiple types of machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing. Citations include failure to provide locks to secure robots from accidentally activating during maintenance and servicing; exposing workers to slipping hazards from wet floors and amputation hazards from unguarded machinery. Additionally, the employer failed to develop a noise-monitoring program and did not provide an eyewash station for workers that handled corrosive materials. Other violations include failing to provide workplace injury logs to OSHA within four hours.

EXIT$162,800 for exit route and other hazards at a Texas retail store

The retailer was cited for failing to keep exit routes clear and unobstructed and for failing to keep working space clear around the electrical panel. The company also received two repeat violations for failing to keep the store aisles clean and clear, and ensuring that portable fire extinguishers were mounted and accessible. One serious violation was issued for failing to clearly mark an exit route. 

$155,000 and SVEP for chemical and PPE hazards at a Texas seafood distributor

February 22, 2016

Ensure Correct Rigging Procedures for Safe Lifting

Extend boom
When heavy objects need to be lifted on a worksite, crews focus a significant amount of attention on the crane, hoist or other device that will make the lift. Something that’s equally important, but rarely given as much thought, is the role of proper rigging in safe load handling. 

Several years ago, OSHA updated crane regulations after a series of high-profile crane accidents. Part of that change involved tightening rules related to rigging. After all, if the rigging is inadequate or fails, there usually isn’t enough time to warn workers in the area. And when heavy loads fall, even if injuries aren’t involved, the physical damage can be catastrophic.

Because proper rigging is so important, it’s critical for crews involved with lifts - and those working in the immediate area - to become familiar with correct procedures for safe rigging. The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have written a post with good information to help avoid rigging safety problems.

Key points for safer rigging include:

  • Train all riggers
  • Evaluate the environment
  • Inspect equipment
  • Choose the right hitch
  • Learn proper hand signals
  • Move loads properly
  • Prepare for the next lift 

Learn more:

February 19, 2016

OSHA Announces 2016 National Safety Stand-Down May 2-6

National Safety Stand-Down 2016
OSHA has designated May 2-6, 2016, for the third annual National Safety Stand-Down. The event is a nationwide effort to remind and educate employers and workers in the construction industry of the serious dangers of falls - the cause of the highest number of industry deaths in the construction industry.

OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Center for Construction Research and Training are leading the effort to encourage employers to pause during their workday for topic discussions, demonstrations and training on how to recognize hazards and prevent falls.

“Falls still kill far too many construction workers,” said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. “While we regularly work with employers, industry groups and worker organizations on preventing falls and saving lives, the National Safety Stand-Down encourages all employers - from small businesses to large companies operating at many job sites - to be part of our effort to ensure every worker makes it to the end of their shift safely.

More than four million workers participated in National Safety Stand-Downs in 2014 and 2015, and OSHA expects thousands of employers across the nation to join the 2016 event. To guide their efforts, OSHA has developed the official National Safety Stand-Down web site with information on conducting a successful stand-down. After their events, employers are encouraged to provide feedback and will receive a personalized certificate of participation.

NIOSH Study Identifies Top Industries for Hearing Problems

Noise area may cause hearing loss
A new study from NIOSH identifies industries where hearing difficulty and tinnitus are most prevalent, based on data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. NIOSH says Hearing Difficulty and Tinnitus among U.S. Workers and Non-workers in 2007 is the first study to report tinnitus prevalence by U.S. industry sector and occupation, and also to provide tinnitus and hearing impairment estimates side by side.

Workers in agriculture, forestry and fishing and hunting had significantly higher risk of hearing difficulty, tinnitus
(“ringing in the ears”) and combined conditions. Manufacturing workers had significantly higher risk for tinnitus and combined tinnitus and hearing difficulty.

NIOSH Improves Ladder Safety App - Now Includes Step Ladders

Ladder safety
This article has moved to our new blog.

Please review it here:

2015 Mining Deaths Were Lowest Ever, But 2016 is Off to a Bad Start

Quarry workings no unauthorized persons allowed
Preliminary data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) show 28 miners died on the job in 2015 - a 37 percent improvement from 2014, when 45 miner fatalities occurred - making 2015 the first year with fewer than 30 mining deaths. But in the first three weeks of 2016, the coal industry experienced three fatalities in three separate mining accidents, the highest number of coal accidents to occur in the same time period since January 2006.

MSHA plans to ramp up its targeted enforcement, education and outreach efforts to respond to the troubling number of mining fatalities that have occurred so far this year.

February 9, 2016

NIOSH Shares Worker Health Resources

Here's a list of new publications and resources for worker health, older drivers, transportation safety and child care providers from the NIOSH Total Worker Health blog:

Free Podcast: Worker Health and the New Global Economy

What's different about the new economy and new workplace today, compared to the past? What science-based solutions and innovative employer strategies can businesses use to address emerging safety and health issues? In this 20-minute interview featured on Working Capital Conversations, Dr. L. Casey Chosewood discusses issues such as temporary or contingent work, work-influenced chronic disease, and an aging workforce. He also gives practical strategies for employers who wish to move toward a Total Worker Health approach.

NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Older Driver Fact Sheet

NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Older Driver Fact Sheet
NIOSH's Center for Motor Vehicle Safety will be releasing "Older Drivers in the Workplace," a fact sheet which gives employers and workers information on age-related physical and mental changes that may affect older workers' ability to drive safely. The image above is from the fact sheet, which isn't yet available.