|September 15, 2014 · Volume 13, Issue 18|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
A final rule announced Sept. 11 requires employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015 for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.
"Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013. We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them."
"Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously, OSHA's regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule.
Employers can report these events by telephone to the nearest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours or the 24-hour OSHA hotline 1-800-321-OSHA , or electronically through a new tool which will be released soon and accessible at www.osha.gov/report_online.
In a final rule posted in the Federal Register on Sept. 11, OSHA has also updated the list of industries that, due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates, are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep injury and illness records. The rule will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015 for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.
The previous list of exempt industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification system and the new rule uses the North American Industry Classification System to classify establishments by industry. The new list is based on updated injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The new rule maintains the exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records of worker injuries and illnesses.
OSHA has posted a new website with plain language materials about the new requirements. For more information on the industries now exempt from keeping records or new industries now covered, please visit www.osha.gov//. OSHA has also posted training material and other guidance on how to keep OSHA records to make it easy for newly covered employers to comply.
All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with OSHA's new severe injury and illness reporting requirements. For more information, see the news release, Assistant Secretary Michaels' statement, and OSHA's new Web page on the revised rule.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the preliminary results of its National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. According to the BLS data, the number of fatal work injuries in 2013 was lower than the revised count of 4,628 fatal work injuries in 2012. However, the BLS found that fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers were higher in 2013, rising 7 percent.
"We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable."
For more information on the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, see the BLS news release.
OSHA has awarded $10.6 million in Susan Harwood Training Grant Program to 78 nonprofit organizations, including community- and faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor-management associations, colleges and universities.
"The Susan Harwood Training Program provides thousands of workers and employers with hands-on, critical health and safety training to reduce occupational injuries," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "The federal grants awarded will provide workers and employers in some of the most dangerous industries with important tools to identify and eliminate hazards."
The Harwood program supports safety and health training programs that educate workers and employers in industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; underserved youth; limited English proficiency and other vulnerable workers; and small businesses. For more information, read the news release.
Following the death of a worker at Behr Iron & Steel Inc.'s recycling facility in South Beloit, Ill., OSHA cited the company for one serious and seven willful safety violations. The victim, a 37-year-old Hispanic immigrant, suffered multiple external and internal injuries after his arm was caught in a conveyor belt at the scrap metal shredding and sorting facility on March 10. At least three other workers were also exposed to dangerous, unguarded machines during cleaning operations. Proposed penalties total $497,000.
"A wife and two little girls lost their husband, father and livelihood because Behr Iron & Steel knowingly exposed this worker to highly dangerous equipment with no safeguards," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "For this family, the American dream is now a nightmare. Behr Iron & Steel needs to be held accountable for its history of failing to protect their workforce."
Behr was cited for willfully failing to implement training and procedures for safe entry into the shredder pit, to inform employees of dangers present in pit and to use energy control procedures to prevent workers from coming into contact with operating parts of dangerous machinery by de-energizing and locking out the conveyor belt. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Pride Plating Inc. of Grove, Okla. with $341,550 in fines for exposing workers to cancer-causing health hazards by inhaling, absorbing and ingesting hexavalent chromium. Similar violations were cited in 2009.
"The chromium standard addresses exposure. OSHA has documented and cited three routes of exposure in this case," said David Bates, OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City. "At Pride Plating, workers were exposed to hexavalent chromium through spray painting and dip tank operations, and in the lunchroom and smoking areas."
The 38 repeat and serious violations included failing to provide safe personal protective equipment for workers exposed to chromium, to clearly mark areas where chromium was sprayed, to implement a respiratory program, to provide adequate washing facilities, and to label chemical containers. For more details, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Jacksonville, Fla.-based Justin Construction Co. LLC with six safety violations after agency inspectors observed employees at three area work sites performing residential construction without using a fall protection system. Proposed penalties total $188,650.
"Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction, and this employer's blatant disregard for employees' safety is unacceptable," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "It is imperative that any employee working from heights more than six feet be provided the proper fall protection equipment and trained how to properly use it."
Willful violations included the employer's failure to provide a fall protection system at two job sites where employees were conducting decking work at heights of six feet or more, and for allowing workers to use the top step of a stepladder. Repeat violations were issued for permitting workers to use pressurized nail guns without providing proper eye protection and failing to provide fall protection systems for employees working on steep roofs at elevations between 10 and 16 feet. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA is requesting nominations and the appointment of members to the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health. FACOSH advises the secretary of labor on matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. OSHA is accepting nominations for five new members: three federal agency management representatives and two federal employee representatives. Members will serve three-year terms, beginning Jan. 1, 2015. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA's new alliance with the Heartland Workers Center of Omaha, Nebraska aims to provide staff, immigrant workers and others with education, guidance and access to training resources on protecting the health and safety of workers. The alliance will promote better understanding of workers' rights and provide training where needed in Spanish. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has also renewed its 2008 alliance with the Permian Basin Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network to continue its mission to keep oil and gas workers safe by providing training resources that address hazards in oil and gas operations. Some issues that the STEPS alliance will address include worker exposure to hazardous chemicals and gas, fire and explosion hazards, and fall hazards. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA's free Job Safety and Health: It's the Law! poster is now available online in Chinese Korean and Nepali as well as English, Spanish, Polish and Portuguese. The poster informs workers of their rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. All covered employers are required to predominantly display the poster in their workplaces where workers can see it. For more information about the poster and how to get copies in the various languages, visit OSHA's workplace poster Web page.
OSHA’s new Ebola Web page provides guidance for protecting workers from exposure to the Ebola virus. The new resource covers hazard identification and characterization, medical information, applicable OSHA standards, and recommendations for prevention and control of exposures to Ebola.
In addition, throughout September's National Preparedness Month, OSHA is highlighting its Emergency Preparedness and Response pages to help employers keep workers safe during emergencies – including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and winter weather.
OSHA provides news and commentary on workplace safety and health from its senior leadership and staff on the DOL blog. Read the latest post by Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels on the recent updates to OSHA's recordkeeping and reporting requirements. DOL offers the option to receive blog updates by email.
Are you interested in a career with the Department of Labor? DOL has job opportunities throughout the country, including openings in OSHA.
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