|December 1, 2014 · Volume 13, Issue 23|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, there will be a change to what covered employers are required to report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers will now be required to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding about the incident.
OSHA will be on Twitter, Dec. 11, 2014 to answer your questions about the new reporting requirements going into effect at the beginning of the new year. Join the Twitter chat from 1 – 2 p.m. EST, where you can ask questions and follow the conversation live using the hashtag #Reporting2015.
Previously, employers were required to report all workplace fatalities and when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident. The updated reporting requirements have a life-saving purpose: they will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards.
Employers have three options for reporting these severe incidents to OSHA. They can call their nearest area office during normal business hours, call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742), or they will be able to report online at www.osha.gov/report.html. For more information and resources, visit OSHA's Web page on the updated reporting requirements and watch OSHA’s new YouTube video, where Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, explains the new reporting requirements.
*Employers under Federal OSHA's jurisdiction must begin reporting by January 1. Establishments in a state with a State run OSHA program should contact their state plan for the implementation date.
OSHA has released a new factsheet, based on existing guidance from OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to help employers select appropriate personal protective equipment for workers who may be exposed to the Ebola virus. The fact sheet, “Personal Protective Equipment Selection Matrix for Occupational Exposure to Ebola Virus,” includes a PPE matrix that covers examples of common exposures, which include direct contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids; contaminated objects, materials, and surfaces; and exposure to bio-aerosols that may contain Ebola virus particles.
Employers are responsible for identifying hazards to which their workers may be exposed; providing appropriate PPE to protect them; and training them on when and how they must use it, and how to dispose of or decontaminate the equipment. The matrix is not intended to prescribe PPE for every worker or exposure or discuss all PPE options. In some cases, OSHA’s matrix may be more protective than CDC guidance for specific worker groups or tasks.
Visit OSHA’s Ebola page for more information on how employers must protect their workers from the Ebola virus, as well as from exposure to harmful levels of chemicals used for cleaning and disinfecting.
OSHA has cited Central Transport LLC for willfully and repeatedly exposing workers at its freight shipping terminal to electrocution, fall, crushing and other hazards. The Billerica, Mass., company faces $330,800 in proposed fines.
“Several hazards were brought to management’s attention, but the company took no corrective action, while other conditions were strikingly similar to violations for which Central Transport was previously cited at its locations in Illinois and Mississippi. The cited conditions put employees at risk of deadly or disabling injuries,” said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA’s acting deputy regional administrator for New England. “It’s clear that Central Transport must systematically and effectively address and eliminate hazards at all its locations. The safety and well-being of its employees, now and in the future, depend on it.”
Violations include failing to inform workers of the dangers of hazardous chemicals in the workplace, and exposing workers to electric shock hazards, dangerous fork lift hazards and unguarded ramps. For more information, read the news release.
An OSHA inspection of Colonna’s Shipyard Inc., a ship repair facility in Norfolk, Va., found that a worker welding the frame of a U.S. Navy vessel was exposed to potential falls of up to 30 feet by three open manholes just 1 foot away. OSHA cited the company with 12 serious and repeat violations and issued $101,000 in proposed penalties. The inspection was part of the agency’s Local Emphasis Program on shipbuilding and repair.
“Shipyard work is traditionally hazardous, with an injury and accident rate more than twice that of construction and general industry,” said Dan DeWease, director of OSHA’s Norfolk Area Office. “Colonna’s Shipyard must do a better job of protecting workers from the dangers associated with this type of work. With the right safeguards, accidents are preventable.”
In addition to unguarded manholes, OSHA inspectors also found that the company failed to provide fall protection, exposed workers to electrical hazards while welding and expected workers to use damaged electrical equipment and unguarded machinery. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA is launching a local emphasis program in Nebraska to educate employers and workers about highly hazardous chemicals, including formaldehyde and methylene chloride. The program will include outreach and education to employers, as well as programmed health inspections in industries, such as funeral homes, chemical and product manufacturing plants, printing facilities and outpatient care centers.
American workers use tens of thousands of chemicals every day. As a result, workers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures. Workplace chemical exposures have been linked to cancers, and other lung, kidney, skin, heart, stomach, brain, nerve, and reproductive diseases.
“This local emphasis program will allow OSHA to use its resources efficiently by focusing on industries that are known to use these types of highly hazardous chemicals,” said Bonita Winingham, area director for OSHA in Omaha. “Through this program, OSHA will improve education for company management and strengthen worker protections.”
Directors and consultants from Pennsylvania’s Small Business Development Centers recently joined with local OSHA staff to learn about the agency’s resources for small business owners, including OSHA’s $afety Pays Program and OSHA’s free On-site Consultation Program.
The On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants in this program help companies find and fix workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management systems.
Conference participants picked up free copies of OSHA's "It's the Law!" poster, which the agency requires to be posted by all employers in Pennsylvania and other Federal OSHA states, and tested their ability to recognize workplace hazards using OSHA's new online Hazard Identification Training Tool. The “It’s the Law!” poster can be downloaded or ordered free from OSHA.
Having trouble finding health insurance that fits your needs and your budget? Look no further than the Health Insurance Marketplace. All plans in the Marketplace cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and more.
To find the latest, most accurate, information about the Marketplace visit HealthCare.gov. At this website, you can learn how the Marketplace works, who can apply for insurance, how to get insurance, how to lower your costs, and more. When you’re ready to apply and enroll in a health plan, HealthCare.gov is the place for that, too!
No matter where you live, you may be able to buy insurance from private health plans that cover a comprehensive set of benefits, including doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care, and prescriptions. And plans in the Marketplace must treat you fairly—they can't deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. With a single application, you'll also find out if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, or savings you can use right away to lower your health insurance premiums.
Marketplace open enrollment period begins November 15, 2014.
Open enrollment ends February 15, 2015. HealthCare.gov is your best source of information about the Marketplace. You can read important information, print checklists, and watch videos to help you apply and enroll.
Want help or need more information?
If you have questions about what the Health Insurance Marketplace offers, visit HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center toll-free at 800-318-2596, to speak with a trained customer service representative. TTY users should call 855-889-4325. Tell the customer service representative if you need help in a language other than English. You can also visit Localhelp.healthcare.gov to find help in your areas.
OSHA provides news and commentary on workplace safety and health from its senior leadership, staff and guest contributors on the DOL blog. Read the latest posts: Safety equals big savings for small businesses by Doug Kalinowski, Director of Cooperative and State Programs, and Black Friday savings shouldn’t cost worker lives by Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA Area Director for Long Island.