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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com

April 27, 2017

NSC: Construction Workers Say Productivity Trumps Safety on Worksites

Employee perceptions of workplace safety April 2017
A National Safety Council survey found 58% of US construction workers feel that safety takes a back seat to productivity and completing job tasks. What's more, 51% say management does only the minimum required by law to keep employees safe, and 47% say employees are afraid to report safety issues. By comparison, 36% of employees in 144 other industries surveyed feel their employers prioritize productivity over safety.

The Employee Perceptions of Workplace Safety findings were released just ahead of Workers' Memorial Day on April 28 and the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, May 8-12.

A total of 4,836 people died in workplace incidents in 2015, and 937 of those killed were construction workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falls are the second leading cause of death in the workplace, and more than half of fall-related deaths each year occur in the construction industry, according to Injury Facts 2017.

"Sadly the results of our survey indicate that many workers still worry about whether they will make it home safely tonight, said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. "We call on all employers to renew their commitment to keep everyone safe, on every job, each and every day."  

Gauging perceptions toward safety at work may help provide further insight into workplace deaths. Other key findings from workers across all industries include:

  • 32% feel management ignores worker safety performance when determining promotions
  • 62% say everyone is involved in solving job safety issues
  • 63% of employees feel they work in areas or at stations that are set up ergonomically correct
  • 48% of employees believe safety meetings are held less often than they should be
  • 47% believe performance standards are higher for job tasks than for safety; this percentage is higher among construction industry workers, where 67% feel this way
  • 33% of employees working in transportation and warehousing do not agree that management has a written policy that expresses their attitude about employee safety
The survey is based on the Council's Employee Perception Surveys.

Resources:



April 18, 2017

April Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of safety news from around the web:

Keep out from under crane loadsRevised Design Standard for Below-the-hook Lifting Devices

The ASME BTH-1 standard for the design of below-the-hook lifting devices has been revised. The new edition, released as ASME BTH-1-2017 - Design of Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices, updates and supersedes the 2014 version of the standard, continuing to serve as a guide for designers, manufacturers, purchasers, and users of below-the-hook lifting devices. Read more here.


OSHA Delays Enforcement of Construction Silica Standard

OSHA has announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry. The agency has determined that additional guidance for employers is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017. OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard's other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training. Read the OSHA news release.


New OHSN Modules Track Sharps Injuries and Blood and Body Fluid Exposures

Sharps Disposal Only
NIOSH has announced the release of two new modules that track sharps incidents and blood and body fluid exposures for healthcare workers using the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN). This network collects existing injury data to help identify jobs that are at the highest risk for injury within their facility. The new modules help employers and employees track and analyze most of the common, high risk, preventable injury and exposure events among healthcare workers. Learn more.


Employer Resources for Distracted Driving Awareness Month

No dialling talking texting while driving
Every April the National Safety Council promotes Distracted Driving Awareness Month to raise awareness of the many dangers of distracted driving. The NSC offers a variety of materials to support distracted driving education, including these resources for employers: A company cell phone policy kit, a case study of a major US company that banned cell phone use, and a new distracted driving online course. Learn more here.


Upcoming Free Safety Webinars Presented by OH&S

April 27 - Eye Injury Prevention: Let's Take a Closer Look
May 10 - FR PPE Standards - Compliance vs Certification
May 11 - Safety Initiatives in the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry
May 24 - Beat the Heat: An Intro to Heat Stress
Learn more or sign up here.

April 13, 2017

2017 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls May 8-12

Fall protection required
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015 (BLS data). To help reduce construction falls, employers and workers are invited to participate in the fourth annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction, to be held May 8-12. The week-long outreach event encourages employers and workers to pause during the work day to talk about fall hazards and prevention.

What is a Safety Stand-Down?


A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. It's an opportunity for employers to have a conversation with employees about hazards, protective methods, and

April 11, 2017

ABC Report: Safety Best Practices Can Reduce Construction Incidents Up to 87 Percent

Entering construction zone
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has released its 2017 Safety Performance Report, which shows that implementing the ABC's Safety Training Evaluation Process can reduce recordable incidents by up to 87 percent, making the best-performing companies 770 percent safer than the industry average.

“ABC’s third annual report on the use of leading indicators, such as substance abuse programs and new hire safety orientations, confirms that high-performing ABC members have safer construction jobsites,” said ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman. “This is one of the few studies of commercial and industrial construction firms doing real work on real projects, and it shows that implementing best practices can produce world-class construction safety programs.”

5 Steps to Implementing a Workplace AED Program

First Aid Kit AED Inside
More than 400 workplace fatalities each year are caused by cardiac arrest. Immediate CPR and use of an AED can double or triple survival rates. It's not difficult to implement an AED program, and the American Heart Association can help. The Association has developed a variety of materials to guide employers through the steps to a successful and efficient AED program. Resources include: Implementation Guide, State Law Resources, a Q&A and a list of FDA-approved AED manufacturers.

What to know about AEDs

The automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized medical device. An AED can check a person’s heart rhythm, recognize a rhythm that requires a shock and advise the

April 5, 2017

Tips to Reduce Workplace Noise Exposure

Hearing protection required
Exposure to noise at work can harm workers’ health. The most well-known effect of noise at work is loss of hearing, a problem documented since the 1700s. Other effects of workplace noise include increased risk of accidents, impaired communication, reduced productivity and a variety of health problems - including suspected effects on unborn children. But some workplaces are inherently noisy. Fortunately, a variety of measures can be taken to reduce or control occupational noise levels.

Although hearing PPE may be the first control people think of, PPE is considered the least effective option for noise hazard control. The hierarchy of controls, from most to least effective, is:

  • Eliminating the hazard source
  • Substitute with less-noisy equipment
  • Engineering controls that isolate people from the hazard
  • Administrative controls that change the way people work
  • PPE that addresses the worker, not the source of the noise

A recent article by OH&S discusses aspects of noise reduction and ways to make your

March 28, 2017

March 2017 Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of safety news from around the web:

Keep OSHA 300A Injury and Illness Summaries Posted Through April
OSHA reminds employers to post a copy of Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2016. The summary must be displayed from February through April in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements. 

April 3-7 is National Work Zone Awareness Week
Highway construction season is just around the corner. So is National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 3-7. The annual event brings national attention to motorist and

March 20, 2017

Job Safety Analysis is First Step to Worksite Safety - and More

Entering construction zone
Employees on a construction site don't work in a vacuum. Even when they perform duties in separate areas, their tasks and timelines may cross over one another. Keeping everyone safe - and the job progressing - requires cooperation and careful planning.

A critical first step in planning is the job safety analysis, which is a formal effort to identify and document hazards associated with specific tasks, so workers can take the proper actions to protect themselves.

The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have penned an interesting article that defines when, where and

OSHA's 'Safe and Sound' Campaign Helps Employers Keep Workplaces Safe and Healthy

America works safely 365 days with no accidents
In response to recent workplace fatalities, OSHA has launched the Safe and Sound Campaign calling on employers to review their safety and health programs to protect workers and reduce workplace injuries and deaths. By identifying and controlling job-related hazards that can lead to injuries and illnesses, businesses can improve their safety and health programs, save money and improve competitiveness. 

The program includes recommended practices for setting up a safety and health program, as well as Safe+Sound Week in June - a nationwide event to raise awareness and understanding of the value of proactive safety and health programs in workplaces.

A Proven Approach to Safety

Employers have proven that safety and health programs reduce the numbers of injuries and

March 8, 2017

Study: Young Construction Workers Disregard Hearing Protection

Ear protection required
A recent workplace safety study shows that young construction workers commonly disregard hearing protection that could prevent noise-induced hearing loss later in life. Among young Canadian construction workers, 24 per cent reported not wearing hearing protection, compared to 13 per cent of workers over the age of 50 and 11 per cent of workers in all other age groups. They are also less likely to wear hearing protection compared to young workers in other industries, such as manufacturing and primary resources.

These are results from a 2016 study by WorkSafe BC in British Columbia. Data was collected in 2016 from more than 160,000 hearing tests. Hearing loss can go unnoticed

March 2, 2017

Prevent Work Area Accidents and Injuries with Critical Safety Equipment

If you work in construction, you already know the importance of having a safe work environment. In addition to keeping your workers injury-free, having the right safety equipment on hand reduces the risk of liability and keeps projects going on schedule. In order to be sure that your workers stay safe, the following safety equipment and gear should be part of your workplace:


Foot hazard Steel toe shoes required

Choose Rugged Work Clothing

To keep your employees’ bodies protected, they must come to work in tough and high-quality work clothing. A very popular brand is Carhartt. Carhartt offers a wide selection of clothing, including workboots, pants, shirts and outerwear that will stand up to tough working conditions. Most items have plenty of pockets for storing work tools and other gear.

February 27, 2017

Workplace Safety News and Notes - February 2017

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


 Noise-Related Hearing Loss Not Just a Work Problem

A new report form the CDC says that 20% of people who reported no job-related noise exposure did have hearing damage caused by noise. This damage is from loud sounds encountered during everyday activities, such as using a leaf blower or going to loud concerts. These activities can damage a person’s hearing just as much as working in an extremely noisy environment. Get the report here.


Ergonomics Resources for Office Workers


February 22, 2017

Preventing Industrial Fires and Explosions

Hot work area
A recent article in OH&S magazine addresses the five major causes of industrial fires and explosions - and how to prevent them. The National Fire Protection Association reports that an average of 37,000 fires occur at industrial and manufacturing properties every year. These incidents result in 18 civilian deaths, 279 civilian injuries and $1 billion in direct property damage. Here's a brief recap of key points from the article about preventing fires in the workplace.

5 Common Causes

The article describes the most common causes of such fires and explosions:
1. Combustible Dust - A major cause of fire in food manufacturing, woodworking, chemical manufacturing, metalworking, pharmaceutical and other industries.
2. Hot Work - Includes brazing, burning, heating and soldering, as well as welding and torch cutting.
3. Flammable Liquids and Gasses - Frequent at chemical plants, but many workplaces commonly use these materials.
4. Faulty Equipment and Machinery - Beyond furnaces, any mechanical equipment can become a fire hazard due to friction between moving parts.
5. Electrical Hazards - Including overloaded circuits and extension cords, exposed wiring and static discharge.

Preventing Fires and Explosions


March is National Ladder Safety Month

climb ladders carefully use both hands
Falls from ladders are preventable, yet they account for 300 deaths and some 20,000 injuries each year. The American Ladder Institute (ALI) has announced March as the first-ever National Ladder Safety Month, designed to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities.

ALI believes ladder accidents are preventable, but without better safety planning and training and continuous innovation in product design, we will continue to see far too many fatalities. 


National Ladder Safety Month goals include:
  • Increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by ALI
  • Lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly “Top 10 Citations List”
  • Decrease ladder-related injuries and fatalities
  • Increase the number of competent ladder inspector training sessions
  • Increase the number of companies and individuals that inspect and properly dispose of old, damaged or obsolete ladders
Ladder safety will also be an important component of OSHA’s annual National Safety Stand-Down set for May 8 through 12.

Here's how you can get involved and help improve ladder safety at your workplace:


NIOSH Releases New Sound Level App to Protect Hearing

Ear Protection Required if work exceeds __ hours
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a new mobile app for iOS (Apple) devices that measures sound levels in the workplace and provides noise exposure parameters to help reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss. The goal is to help workers learn about their noise exposure and reduce the chances of hearing loss.

OSHA reports that twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. An estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers' compensation for hearing loss disability. In one year, U.S. business paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers from noise. NIOSH hopes to help reduce those numbers with it's new Sound Level Meter app.

The app can be used by safety and health professionals and industrial hygienists to assess risks, similar to using a professional sound level meter. Workers can use the app to make informed decisions about potential hearing hazards in the workplace. The app allows users to acquire and display real-time noise exposure data and help promote better hearing health and better prevention efforts. It also contains some basic information about noise and hearing loss prevention. In addition, users can save and share measurement data with others using the device communication and media features.

NIOSH says the Sound Level Meter app can:

  • Raise workers’ awareness about their work environment
  • Help workers make informed decisions about the potential hazards to their hearing
  • Serve as a research tool to collect noise exposure data
  • Promote better hearing health and prevention efforts

 

Major OSHA Fines Total $2.8 Million in Mid January, 2017

Although no news releases have been issued by Federal OSHA since the January 20 presidential inauguration, the agency posted details on nine significant fines in the first half of that month. Proposed fines total more than $2.8 million, and common citations include machine guarding, lockout-tagout and fall protection. Here's some info on the investigations. Many are still pending final decisions.

$892,551 for wrongfully discharging an Amtrack safety inspector

Federal OSHA says Amtrak retaliated against a supervisory special agent in its inspector general's office by denying employment and terminating him after he raised concerns about railroad safety, fraud and abuse involving an Amtrak contractor and when he supported a fellow agent's safety concerns during an internal investigation.

"In this case, an employee was terminated for pursuing and reporting safety concerns. The employer's retaliation is unacceptable and illegal," says an OSHA administrator. OSHA has ordering corrective actions including:

  • Reinstate the employee
  • Pay him a total of $892,551: comprised of $723,332 in back wages; $34,218 in interest; $100,000 in punitive damages; $35,000 in compensatory damages; plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs
  • Post a notice to all railroad employees about their FRSA rights.
See more details.

$535,411 for willful medical, PPE and machine guard violations at an Oklahoma truck bed manufacturer

Following a complaint of unsafe working conditions, OSHA's investigation at BigTex Trailer Manufacturing Inc., which does business as CM Truck Beds, found 20 serious violations, one willful and three repeated violations. Inspectors found workers who performed spray painting and powder coating did not receive required medical evaluations and respirator fit tests. OSHA cited willful violation for hydraulic press brakes operated without machine guards in place. In addition, they identified 20 serious violations including failure to:

February 21, 2017

Safety Training Tip: Remember PEOPLE

If you're a safety pro inspecting a worksite, do the workers there see you as the management "safety cop" or as part of their team who can help them stay safe on the job? How you present yourself can make all the difference. 

The safety pros at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have penned an article that can help you get better cooperation from your work teams - and better safety compliance, too. Here are some key points:

Words Don't Mean Much

Humans do far more “listening” with our eyes than our ears. Scientists say that only about 7 percent of messages we receive comes through the words. Another 28 percent comes from the way those words are delivered. But a full 55 percent of messages are conveyed through the speaker’s body language. So when a safety pro speaks to a group of workers, the nonverbal components of the message can have a greater impact than what’s actually being said. The professional’s physical appearance, the body language, the tone and the pace of the voice determine how carefully the workers will listen and how much they’ll retain.

Remember You’re Dealing with PEOPLE

PEOPLE is a handy acronym that makes it easy to remember the six key elements of body language:

February 7, 2017

Workplace Housekeeping Tips to Reduce Accidents

put things back in their proper places
Each year thousands of workers are injured on the job from accidents caused by poor workplace housekeeping. It takes more than cleanliness to maintain a safe workplace. Use these tips form the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) to help ensure a safer environment for your workers.

What Makes a Good Housekeeping Program?

A good housekeeping program plans for proper storage and efficient movement of materials from point of entry to exit. It includes a material flow plan to reduce unnecessary handling, which also reduces injury risks. The plan should ensure work areas are not used for storage and that tools and materials are accessed as needed and returned after use. It could include investing in extra bins, shelving or more frequent disposal.

Poor Housekeeping Hazards


January 26, 2017

January 2017 Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of safety news from around the web:

DOT Amends Hazmat Rules to Maintain Consistency with International Regulations

health, flammability, reactivity, PPE
The U.S. DOT posted a final rule on Jan. 19 that amends the U.S. Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) to maintain consistency with international regulations and standards. Amendments include changes to proper shipping names; hazard classes; packing groups; special provisions; packaging authorizations; air transport quantity limitations; and vessel stowage requirements. Some of the amendments resulted from coordination with Canada under the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council. Mandatory compliance set to begin on Jan. 1, 2018, unless otherwise specified. Get details here (pdf).

EPA Plans to Evaluate Grandfathered Chemicals That May Pose Risks

The EPA is developing a proposal of how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017. The plan will address chemicals currently in the marketplace, some for 40 years or more, that have never been evaluated. When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it grandfathered in thousands of unevaluated chemicals that were in commerce at the time. That law did not provide EPA with tools to evaluate chemicals or require companies to generate and provide data on chemicals they produced. If EPA identifies unreasonable risk in the evaluation, it is required to eliminate that risk through regulations. Read more.

PHMSA Final Rule Requires Faster Notification Following Pipeline Accidents


January 25, 2017

Major OSHA Fines Top $5 Million in December, 2016

Federal OSHA inspectors ended 2016 with a bang, proposing fines of just over $5 million in 14 investigations with fines of $100,000 or more. The top citation accounted for just over half of the month's total. Common citations included machine guarding, lockout-tagout and PPE violations. Below are details on the top fines. Many are still pending final decisions.

$2.56 Million and SVEP after a fatality at an Alabama auto parts supplier

Lockout equipment before entering
Following the crushing death of a worker in a robotic machine, OSHA cited 23 willful, serious and other-than-serious violations, including 19 egregious instance-by-instance willful violations, to Joon LLC, doing business as Ajin USA of Cusseta. OSHA also cited two staffing agencies - Alliance HR Inc., doing business as Alliance Total Solutions LLC and Joynus Staffing Corp. - for two serious safety violations each. Collectively, the three companies face $2,565,621 in penalties.

OSHA issued willful citations for:

  • Failing to utilize energy control procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.
  • Exposing workers to caught-in, struck-by and crushing hazards by allowing them to enter a robotic cell without shutting down and securing hazardous stored energy according to safety procedures.
  • Failing to provide safety locks to isolate hazardous energy.
  • Exposing employees to crushing and amputation hazards due to improper machine guarding.
OSHA also issued two serious citations for exposing workers to laceration hazards and not installing effective shields or curtains on welding machines. The temp agencies received two serious citations for lockout-tagout failures. Read more here.
 

$342,059 for bloodborne pathogen hazards at a Maryland USPS facility

Following a complaint alleging employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious bodily fluids while handling packages labeled as containing biological infectious materials,

Would OSHA Consider You a Competent Person?

Safety is everybody's business
OSHA requires that safety oversight be handled by a “competent person.” But what exactly does that mean? What makes an individual “competent” in OSHA’s eyes?

Although there are currently no specific OSHA standards regarding competent persons, a new article by the safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis helps answer that question.

The law defines a competent person as someone who is:
"capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”

So a competent person is someone who has the training and knowledge to identify workplace hazards and prevent accidents. But there's more – and it’s the most important part:

January 18, 2017

Don't Miss Feb. 1 Deadline for Posting Your OSHA 300A Summary

we have proudly worked 365 days without an OSHA recordable injury
While much of the U.S. is focused on January 20, don't forget that February 1 is the deadline for posting the OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Many employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. This information helps employers, workers and OSHA evaluate the safety of a workplace, understand industry hazards and implement worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards  - and prevent future workplace injuries and illnesses.

Maintaining and Posting Records

The records must be maintained at the worksite for at least five years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year. Also, if requested, copies of the records must be provided to current and former employees, or their representatives.

January 9, 2017

OSHA Issues New Beryllium Rule that Drastically Cuts PELs

PPE Respirator
OSHA has issued a final rule dramatically limiting exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. The new rule contains standards for general industry, construction, and shipyards.

The rule cuts the eight-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) from the current 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter to 0.2 micrograms. Above 0.2, employers must take steps to reduce the airborne concentration. The new rule also requires additional protections including personal protective equipment, medical exams, medical surveillance and training. The new standards take effect in March, with most compliance required by March 2018.

January 3, 2017

2017 State / Federal Labor Law Posters Now Available at ComplianceSigns.com

Labor Law Posters for all 50 states
Across the U.S., employers are required to display state and federal labor / employment notices in a conspicuous location to help maintain compliance with state and federal labor posting requirements. Now employers and Human Resources professionals can order U.S.-made labor law posters from the same source they trust for top-quality safety and office signs: ComplianceSigns.com.

These 2017 employment posters combine state and federal notices into one easy-to-hang poster that displays up-to-date mandatory federal and state labor / employment notices for private industry or non-government entities. We've researched and developed posters for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and all have been reviewed by a licensed attorney. We've done the research so employers can use them with confidence.