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November 21, 2016

OSHA Issues Major Fines Totaling $3.2 Million in October 2016

Federal OSHA investigators released information on 29 enforcement activities in October, with 16 of those cases carrying proposed fines of $100,000 or more. These major fines totaled nearly $3.2 million. Fall protection and machine guards were common citations. Here's some details on nine fines that topped $200,000. Many are still pending final decisions.

$359,878 for repeat fall hazards at a Florida framing contractor

OSHA inspectors observed employees of Panama City Framing unprotected from falls as they installed truss framing at a residence. OSHA cited two willful citations for the employer's failure to protect workers with a fall protection system when working at heights up to 22 feet, and for not having a roof access ladder for employees to access the roof trusses. Repeat violations included allowing workers to use powered nail guns without eye protection and failing to ensure employees were wearing head protection. The employer has been cited four times since 2012 for lack of fall, eye and head protection. Read more here.

$317,814 for repeat serious hazards at a Georgia textile and plastic recycler

Wearables: Workplace Safety Is Finally Within Reach

fire fighters in smokey building
When wearable tech starting making its debut, it was mostly viewed in the context of luxury. If you wanted to be hyper-connected to your email or were looking for a fancy way to track calories, a wearable device seemed like your answer. But as technology progresses, businesses have discovered plentiful opportunities to turn this concept into something that can be health altering — and even life saving. Here’s a look at some of the ways that wearables are improving workplace safety and minimizing risk for today’s workers.

Awareness for Increased Wellness

It probably comes as no surprise that the most well known wearables are from Apple, including the new Apple Sport Watch. But while this device is known for its elaborate extras, like the ambient light sensor and retina display, some of its best features are related to monitoring health. This lightweight, low-cost, durable watch offers a highly accurate heart rate sensor that can help users stay on top of their heart health. One user even detailed his story about recognizing a serious health problem while at work, thanks to the information he received from his Apple watch. Office jobs are usually not associated with health risks, but this is a good reminder that a wearable like this can help alert office workers to health conditions that may not be related to their jobs, but may still strike while on the job.

Firefighters and Emergency Responders

November 17, 2016

7 Million Employers Impacted by Final OSHA Rule Updating Walking-working Surfaces Standards

Fall Protection Required
OSHA today issued a final rule updating its general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards specific to slip, trip and fall hazards. OSHA estimates the final standard will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually. The rule becomes effective on Jan. 17, 2017, and will affect approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites. 

The new rule includes a new section under the general industry Personal Protective Equipment standards that establishes employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems. It allows employers to select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of accepted options including personal fall protection systems. 

New Workplace Safety Publications from OSHA

OSHA produces a variety of publications that address workplace health and safety topics. They include compliance guides, fact sheets, QuickCards and other formats designed to help employers better understand everything from aerial lifts and brownfield site cleanup to Zika and zip-line safety. 

Here's a list of OSHA publications added this year, with links to their pdf files:

More Resources:


November 9, 2016

BLS Reports Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Declined in 2015

Some 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2015, which occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 2015 rate continues a pattern of declines that, apart from 2012, occurred annually for the last 13 years.

Private industry employers reported nearly 48,000 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2015 compared to a year earlier, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). Because of this decline, combined with an increase in reported hours worked, the total recordable cases (TRC) incidence rate fell 0.2 cases per 100 full-time workers. The fall in the TRC rate was driven by a decline in the rate of cases involving days away from work (DAFW) and other recordable cases (ORC)—each falling 0.1 cases—as the rate for cases of job transfer or restriction only (DJTR) has remained at 0.7 cases since 2011.

Private Industry

Six of the 19 private industry sectors reported a decline in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015: mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; finance and insurance; health care and social assistance; and accommodation and food services. Manufacturing continued an 18-year trend as the only private industry sector in which the rate of DJTR cases exceeded the rate of

OSHA Delays Anti-retaliation Enforcement to December 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has agreed to further delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its injury and illness tracking rule until Dec. 1, 2016. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas requested the delay to allow additional time to consider a motion challenging the new provisions.
The anti-retaliation provisions were originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, but were previously delayed until Nov. 1 to allow time for outreach to the regulated community.

Under the rule, employers are required to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting; and incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit