|March 15, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 6|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
OSHA will hold two stakeholder meetings in April to solicit comments on the crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The meetings will focus on the effectiveness of crane operator certification to ensure that crane operators can safely operate equipment, and the level of competence and safe operation that certification ensures. The agency seeks information on the usefulness of certifying operators for different capacities of cranes, and the risks of allowing an operator to operate all capacities of cranes within a specific type.
The meetings will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, April 2 and 3, 2013, at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. For meeting and registration details, see the news release.
On April 10, at 11 a.m. EST, OSHA's Director of Construction Jim Maddux, and NIOSH's Director of Construction Safety and Health, Dr. Christine Branche, will co-moderate a webinar to discuss ways of stopping the leading killer of construction workers — falls from heights. To register for the free webinar and to learn more about efforts by OSHA, NIOSH, and CPWR to protect construction workers from fatal falls, visit the registration page.
Find resources to support the OSHA-NIOSH-CPWR Fall Prevention campaign in your community at www.osha.gov/stopfalls (y en Español), including stickers, wallet cards, fact sheets and posters. To order these or any of OSHA's outreach materials, call OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA's Publications page.
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This update to the Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The first deadline in the implementation phase is Dec. 1, 2013, the date by which employers must train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheet.
A new fact sheet (PDF*) discusses the training topics that employers must cover for the initial Dec. 1, 2013 deadline. OSHA has prepared a number of additional materials that explain the new changes to the requirements of the HCS, including QuickCards, fact sheets, a list of frequently asked questions and a brief (PDF*) on labels and pictograms. These and other materials are available on OSHA's Hazard Communications page.
OSHA is reminding employers to post OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2012 and were logged on OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. The summary must be posted between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2013, and should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in less hazardous industries are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, insurance and real estate sectors can be found at http://s.dol.gov/YP. Read the news release for more information on recordkeeping requirements.
U.S. Labor Department orders Union Pacific Railroad Co. to reinstate employee who was terminated for reporting a work-related injury, pay more than $350,000 in damages; Federal Railroad Safety Act case in Texas resolved
OSHA has ordered the Union Pacific Railroad Co., headquartered in Omaha, Neb., to immediately reinstate an employee who was terminated in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for reporting a work-related injury. The company will pay more than $350,000 in back wages with interest, compensatory and punitive damages.
An OSHA investigation upheld the employee's allegation that the railroad terminated his employment in retaliation for reporting a work-related injury. The employee had more than 30 years of service when he was dismissed from the railroad and twice had received the railroad's World Class Employee Award. It was not until after the employee reported his work-related injury in December 2010 that the railroad charged him with misusing his company vehicle. OSHA's investigation found that this charge was used as a pretext to retaliate against the employee for reporting his injury, and that the employee's explanations as to his use of the company vehicle were reasonable and consistent with his job duties. For more information, read the press release.
In a separate case, OSHA has reached a settlement agreement with Union Pacific on behalf of three workers in Texas who were discriminated against after reporting on-the-job injuries, a violation of the whistleblower protection provisions of the FRSA. OSHA's investigation determined that the three railroad workers were barred from bidding on higher-salary jobs at different worksites because they had workplace injuries on their records. In addition to awarding a total of $48,000 in back wages to the three workers, Union Pacific has also agreed to purge any derogatory information from their personnel files directly related to their incidents, and to end the regional policy of using injury records against workers when making personnel decisions.
OSHA has cited Mahle Engine Components USA Inc. with 26 health and safety violations, including eight repeat, for exposing workers to electrical, lead and machine guarding hazards at its McConnelsville automotive parts manufacturing facility. Violations included failing to ground pins from electrical equipment, record employees' blood lead levels to monitor exposure to lead, and provide appropriate personal protective equipment and require its use.
Proposed fines total $369,000. Because of the hazards and violations cited, Mahle Engine Components has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations. See the news release for more information.
OSHA has cited Richelieu Foods Inc. with 27 health and safety violations, including two repeat, for inadequate lockout/tagout (hazardous energy control) procedures after an August 2012 inspection at the company's Beaver Dam facility was opened under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Program (PDF*) for industries with high injury and illness rates. Proposed fines total $228,900.
OSHA's free on-site safety and health consultation program in Missouri is offering a new hands-on learning experience for employers to practice finding and fixing workplace hazards. The "Hazard Lab" simulates many workplace hazard scenarios, including those involving lockout/tagout, bloodborne pathogens, electrical hazards, and hazard communication. The next scheduled appearance of the Hazard Lab will be at the SHARP Association Meeting in Rolla, Missouri, on March 22, 2013. To learn more, read the consultation success story.
OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses to help them identify and correct hazards and improve their injury and illness prevention programs. To request a free consultation, visit OSHA's On-Site Consultation page or call 800-321-OSHA (6742) to find an office in your area.
OSHA and the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City, Mo., have formed an Alliance to protect the safety and health of workers in Missouri and Kansas. The Alliance establishes a collaborative relationship to provide information, guidance and access to education and training resources for Mexican nationals working in Missouri and Kansas. The Mexican Consulate and OSHA's area offices in Kansas City, St. Louis and Wichita, Kan., will jointly develop courses on workers' rights to safe and healthful workplaces.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.
OSHA has published a new slide presentation on the value of injury and illness prevention programs — a proactive process to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt. Not only are these programs effective at reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, but also many employers report that they have transformed their workplace culture and led to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs, and greater worker satisfaction.
Many workplaces have already chosen to adopt injury and illness prevention programs as part of OSHA's cooperative programs, and 34 states and many nations around the world already require or encourage employers to implement such programs. The key elements common to all of these programs are: management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement. To learn more and to view the downloadable presentation, visit OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Programs webpage.
The Lucian Leape Institute at the National Patient Safety Foundation recently released a report asserting that patient wellbeing is closely tied to the safety and health of the workers who care for them. The white paper, Through the Eyes of the Workforce: Creating Joy, Meaning, and Safer Health Care (PDF*), calls upon healthcare organizations to initiate broad organizational changes to reduce physical and psychological harm to healthcare workers. The report represents the experiences and opinions of frontline practitioners, leaders of healthcare organizations, scholars, government representatives and professional societies.
"The basic precondition of a safe workplace," said Paul O’Neill, chairman and CEO of Alcoa and Lucian Leape Institute member, "is protection of the physical and psychological safety of the workforce." Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels will join O’Neill and other distinguished speakers to discuss the report in a webcast March 19 at 1 p.m. EST. To register to view the webcast, visit: http://www.npsfstore.com/pls-webcast-march-19-2013/.
OSHA has updated its abrasive wheel grinder checklist to reflect revisions made to the general industry electrical installation standard in 2007. The checklist is a resource to help employers understand which standards apply to the use of abrasive wheel grinders and to ensure that all proper precautions, including safe electrical grounding techniques, have been taken before workers begin operating the equipment.
Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries, and any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. For more information and resources, visit OSHA's Machine Guarding webpage.
Flu season (lasting from October to May) can present our nation's healthcare and other workers with many risks at the workplace. A Spanish-language summary of information and resources on seasonal flu risks and precautions to take is now available on the Spanish-language version of the Seasonal flu page. This webpage is part of OSHA's recent efforts to provide the country's diverse workforce with timely information in a language and vocabulary that they can understand.
When key parts of the health care law take effect, there'll be a new way to buy health insurance for yourself, your family or your small business: the Health Insurance Marketplace. Whether you're uninsured or just want to see what's available, the Marketplace offers more choice, more transparency, and more control over your health insurance options.
The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that fits your budget, with less hassle. No matter where you live, you'll be able to buy insurance from qualified private health plans that cover a comprehensive set of benefits, including doctor visits, preventive care, hospital visits and prescriptions. New laws mean plans must treat you fairly and can’t deny you coverage because of pre-existing or chronic conditions.
One application, one time, and you and your family can explore every qualified health insurance plan in your area. You'll be able to take control with better information to help you choose, including details about benefits and price presented in clear language you can understand, so you know what your premium, deductibles, and other costs will be before you make a choice.
At the Marketplace, you'll also get information about Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and a new kind of advance tax credit you can use right away to lower your monthly health plan premiums. In fact, more people than ever before will be able to get a break on costs — you may even qualify for free or low cost plans. You'll see all the programs you're eligible for right after you apply.
When enrollment in the Marketplace starts in October 2013, you'll be able to find insurance that fits the way you live, at a price you can be comfortable with. You can enroll directly through our website at HealthCare.gov.
Enrollment starts October 2013. Sign up NOW at HealthCare.gov to get email or text alerts to keep you on track.
The Marketplace will let you compare health private plans and check eligibility for several low-cost and no-cost insurance affordability programs all in one place, with a single application.
The Marketplace at HealthCare.gov will be much more than any health insurance website you've used before. Insurance companies will compete for your business on a level and transparent playing field, with no hidden costs or misleading fine print. When open enrollment starts in October 2013, you'll have more choice, more control, and more clout when it comes to health insurance. And if you have difficulty finding a plan that meets your needs and budget, we’re working to make sure there'll be people in local communities who can give you personal help with your choices.
Keep checking back for more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, and sign up for updates to get ready to enroll in the Fall.
See DOL's weekly electronic newsletter for more DOL news.
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