A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

July 19, 2017

OSHA Electronic Injury Reporting Set to Go Live August 1

We have worked 365 days without a lost time accident
Federal OSHA says it will launch its long-delayed electronic Injury Tracking Application (ITA) on August 1. The web-based reporting form will allow employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A. We'll see what happens.

Last month, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to Dec. 1, 2017, to allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.

The data submission process will involve four steps:
  1. Creating an establishment
  2. Adding 300A summary data
  3. Submitting data to OSHA
  4. Reviewing the confirmation email.

The secure website will offer three options for data submission. One option will enable users to manually enter data into a web form. Another option will give users the ability to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. A third option will allow users of automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically via an application programming interface.

Who is Impacted:
Report all injuries immediately
Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.

What is Required:

Covered establishments with 250 or more employees must electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). Covered establishments with 20-249 employees must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A.

When to Submit Data:
This is a little fuzzy. Current proposed rulemaking extends the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to Dec. 1, 2017. OSHA's original deadline was July 1, but the electronic submission interface wasn't available. The original rule also required information to be submitted by July 1 in 2018, by March 2 in 2019. These timelines are currently under review.

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Lockout / Tagout Inspections - What You Need To Know

Lockout power before removing guards
If your operation has lockout / tagout (LOTO) procedures in place, or if any LOTO is ever used, OSHA requires inspections of your procedure at least once every 12 months. But the OSHA compliance directive for control of hazardous energy is a whopping 136 pages of OSHA-speak.

Fortunately, the safety training pros at weeklysafety have penned an article that explains what kinds of inspections are necessary and outlines best practices for LOTO inspections. Here are some key points form the article.
  • LOTO inspection is are intended to ensure that the LOTO procedures in place are adequate. If they are not, corrections must be made.
  • The inspector cannot be the same person using the LOTO procedure during the inspection, so there must be at least two competent, authorized persons present during any LOTO inspection - one inspector and one worker following the LOTO procedure.
DANGER do not openLOTO inspections should determine if:
  • Steps of the current LOTO procedure are being followed
  • Employees involved know their responsibilities as they pertain to the procedure
  • Current procedure is adequate to provide necessary protection, or what changes are needed if the procedure is not adequate
Don't limit LOTO training to specific machine operators or maintenance workers. All employees must know what LOTO means and what they should do if they encounter LOTO devices or signs while on the job.


July 18, 2017

Four Essential Tips For Staying Safe While Working Outdoors

Workplace safety is a critical issue for every industry. However, for those who work in non-traditional settings such as in the woods or outside in the varying weather conditions, workplace safety takes on a new, even more important meaning.

If you work in environmentalism, forestry, parks and recreation, or the like, read on for expert tips to ensure that you stay safe and healthy on the job.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrating is key for all people, regardless of which industry or part of the country in which they work. After all, when we aren’t properly hydrated, our energy levels and productivity decrease.

However, when you work in more extreme conditions, hydration becomes even more essential. Experts say that most folks should aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. But if you work outdoors, particularly in hot and muggy months, you should increase your water intake to 250ml about every 20 minutes. They also say not to hold off on guzzling water until thirst hits you -- by that point your body is dehydrated. Drinking water consistently throughout the day in small amounts is best.

To help you achieve your optimal water intake, try using a hydration pack. These handy and convenient water packs help you to easily consume water while on the job and are particularly convenient if you need your hands free for working. These hydration systems have come a long way and, today, you can choose from backpack or waist pack options made of a variety of materials to house your reservoir of water and allowing for hands-free drinking.

Wear Proper Clothing

Depending on which part of the country or which season it is, you’ll want to dress accordingly, in addition to any uniform or protective pieces you are required to wear. When temperatures are high, light clothing is recommended. Conversely, when temperatures dip low, muscles may not function properly, particularly if you’re not properly clothed for the cold. Musculoskeletal injuries can increase, as well as energy exerted, may increase during these times. Accidents are also more possibly in cold, windy and rainy conditions when tools are harder to grasp.

Ensuring you’re wearing the proper gear can be the difference between safety and injury.

Repel Bugs

When you work outdoors, there’s always a risk of coming in to contact, or being bitten, by bugs - or worse, ticks. Using bug repellent that contains permethrin works to protect against ticks. This repellent, however, should not be put directly on the skin, but rather, on clothing.

On the other hand, repellents with DEET can be applied to the skin to protect it, but won’t protect against ticks. Reading the label of the repellent to properly apply, as well as keeping it on hand for reapplication, is your best bet.

If you find a tick on your body or feel a bit, use tweezers to remove it slowly. If possible, keeping the tick in a sealed vial with the date of the interaction can help if you seek medical attention.

Prepare for the Unexpected

It’s also essential to keep yourself as prepared as possible for any situation when working in an outdoor environment. As such, proper first aid courses and wilderness first aid courses should be taken. Also, maps and compasses should always be carried and learning how to handle wild animals and natural disasters should also be a priority. A personal and professional safety plan is both your and your employer’s responsibility and should be taken seriously.

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July 11, 2017

OSHA Changes Construction Crane Enforcement Policy

Safety First Hard hat required while crane in operation
OSHA has announced a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from the requirements of Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Employers will now meet the requirement if they are in compliance with OSHA's rules for overhead hoists and general training standards. General industry requirements for monorail hoists remain intact.

The agency says the policy change was made in response to comments from stakeholders and in recognition that a monorail hoist – which is attached to a fixed monorail mounted on equipment such as trucks, trailers, or scaffolding systems – is significantly different from other cranes and derricks in construction. OSHA intends to consider rulemaking options to address this issue. A June 30 memorandum announced a temporary enforcement policy pending the resolution of that rulemaking process.

For the purposes of the enforcement policy, a monorail hoist means a hoisting mechanism attached to a completely fixed monorail (I-beam) mounted on equipment such as work vehicles, trailers, or scaffolding systems. The monorail hoists can be extended and contracted in only a fixed horizontal direction to hoist materials and can hoist materials only as high as the monorail. The monorail hoist does not have a rotating superstructure and cannot swing on a hinge or boom out significantly beyond the wheelbase of a vehicle or the ease of its supporting structure.

Materials commonly lifted and placed by monorail hoists during construction include precast concrete components (septic tanks, storm drain and sewer conduits, vaults), storage tanks, mechanical components, electrical transformers or materials on spools.

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July 6, 2017

OSHA Proposes Update to New Beryllium Rule

On June 23, OSHA announced a new proposed rule on beryllium exposure that would modify the agency’s January 2017 final rule for the construction and shipyard sectors. Further, OSHA said it will not enforce the Jan. 9, 2017, construction and shipyard standards without further notice while determining whether to amend the Jan. 9 rule.

In a news release, OSHA said the new proposal would maintain the requirements for exposure limits (permissible exposure limit of 0.2 µg/m3 and short-term exposure limit of 2.0 µg/m3), but revises the application of provisions such as housekeeping and personal protective equipment. OSHA said it "has evidence that exposure in these industries is limited to a few operations and has information suggesting that requiring the ancillary provisions broadly may not improve worker protection and be redundant with overlapping protections in other standards."

So now OSHA is seeking comment on, among other things, whether existing standards covering abrasive blasting in construction and shipyards, and welding in shipyards provide adequate protection for workers engaged in these operations.

The United Steelworkers (USW) oppose the proposal to cancel protections for shipyard and construction workers exposed to beryllium. According to the USW, under the new proposal released by OSHA, “employers would no longer have to measure beryllium levels in the workplace or provide medical testing to workers at risk of fatal lung disease. In addition, workers would not have the right to wear protective clothing or to shower at the end of the work shift, making it possible for beryllium to be taken home and exposed to spouses and children.”

A recent article in EHS Today covers the proposed roll-backs, with comments from a variety of stakeholders.

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