Back to 2009 OSHSPA Report
North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Division
In 2008, North Carolina decided to pursue a state-specific crane standard [PDF - 35 KB]. The decision was due to delay of the federal OSHA crane safety standard and a number of crane accidents nationwide. The proposed crane safety standard was published in the North Carolina Register on Dec. 15, 2008, which began a 60-day public comment period. The public hearing was Jan. 15, 2009. The North Carolina Crane Safety Standard could go into effect by the end of fiscal year 2009.
North Carolina’s emphasis programs focus on industries and hazards that have the most negative impact on the state’s overall injury, illness, and fatality rates. Emphasis areas in the current strategic management plan include construction; logging and arborists; wood products manufacturing and manufactured homes; long-term care; food manufacturing; and health hazards, including lead, silica, hexavalent chromium, asbestos, and isocyanates. Compliance, consultation, and education and training are all involved in the effort.
Outcomes are measured by comparing baseline data with the subsequent year’s data. For the five-year period ending in 2008, there was a 40 percent drop in the number of work-related fatalities in North Carolina and a 33 percent drop in construction fatalities. The total recordable case rate also fell by 10 percent.
Enforcement continues to be an integral part of the North Carolina State Plan. In 2008, the Occupational Safety and Health Division conducted 5,159 safety and health inspections. The state’s strategy for investigating significant cases includes mobilizing adequate resources, conducting thorough investigations, and sharing findings with those who might benefit from the information. Hazard alerts issued in 2008 included:
Training: Training, one of the cornerstones of North Carolina’s program, has a major impact on the overall goal of reducing injury, illness, and fatality rates. The state’s strategic plan determines where resources are allocated and how training outreach is prioritized. All of the safety and health bureaus contribute a portion of their resources to training coordinated by Education, Training, and Technical Assistance (ETTA). In fiscal year 2008, 17,247 workers and managers were trained. There were 110,584 people trained during the five-year strategic plan that began in fiscal year 2004.
To leverage limited training resources, alliances have been formed with industry groups including the North Carolina Safety and Health Council and the North Carolina State University Industrial Extension Service. The Manager of Environmental Safety and Health (MESH) Program and the Construction Manager of Environmental Safety and Health (C-MESH) Program are certification programs that originated from this alliance. Both initiatives have been successful. Once participants are certified they are able to share their knowledge with co-workers. The public receives information about this and other training initiatives through an online newsletter sent to employers and employees quarterly.
New ways of presenting training have also been pursued. Labor One – a classroom on wheels – is a good example. The vehicle reaches workers who might be missed in conventional classroom training. This approach has been especially helpful in reaching Hispanic construction workers. The state has also supplemented Labor One with two trailers that provide additional material for fall protection, scaffolding, and logging and arborist training.
Considering tough economic times, North Carolina has developed online training that requires little expense for employers and provides a great benefit to employees. The state’s webinars allow employers and employees to receive safety and health training without even leaving the office. In 2008, online training was offered at a rate of one session every other week. The goal for 2009 is to increase the number of training topics and to provide training more frequently.
North Carolina has created a Web-based A-Z subject list to make training information and materials available through the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) Web site. The list covers many safety and health topics with links to in-depth information.
Publications: Project Drive Safe, introduced to address work-related automobile fatalities, includes brochures on work-related travel and a new transportation-safety publication includes guidelines for developing a fleet safety program. Other publications include a comprehensive combustible-dust industry guide, a communication tower hazard alert, English and Spanish quick cards, and brochures on special emphasis programs.
Voluntary protection program: North Carolina began the Carolina Star Program in 1993 and by the end of 2008, 113 companies were participating; the program ranks second among states that have VPP programs. Included under the Carolina Star umbrella is Building Star, which recognizes construction sites that have quality safety and health programs, and Public Sector Star, which recognizes state agencies and local governments. North Carolina also had 73 active Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) sites in December 2008.
In 2008, a successful partnership was completed with Crowder Construction Company involving construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Wilmington and with the Skanska/Barnhill Contracting Company’s completion of the $200,000,000 Raleigh Convention Center. The two-year-long Wilmington project was completed with no lost-time injuries or illnesses. The Sept. 5, 2008 ribbon-cutting event at the Raleigh Convention Center project celebrated the facility’s completion and 1,850,935 hours worked with only one lost-time injury.
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