Workplace Safety News Roundup

May 28, 2015 by

News

Keeping track of new OSHA regulations and taking advantage of supplemental safety training and reading materials makes a large difference in the success of the programs you implement in your workplace. Seeing what others are doing both for the better and worse help mold an all encompassing safety initiative. Here is a sampling of some of the news buzzing around workplace safety this month.

Despite delays, OSHA says to expect several rules soon

Several final and proposed OSHA rules – including a long-delayed update to the beryllium rule – are expected to be published in the next few months, according to the agency’s spring regulatory agenda, released May 21. According to the agenda, OSHA remains on track to complete the next steps for several other major rulemakings, including completing by June its analysis of comments on a proposed silica rule. A silica rule has been in the works since 2003, and OSHA has proposed new permissible exposure limits based on recommendations NIOSH originally issued more than 40 years ago.

For more information click here

Do you work in one of the post dangerous states?

“Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,” marks the 24th year the AFL-CIO has produced its findings on safety and health protections for workers in the United States. The report shows the highest workplace fatality rates were found in North Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, West Virginia and New Mexico.

According to the report released April 29, 4,585 workers were killed in the United States in 2013 due to workplace injuries. An additional estimated 50,000 workers died from occupational diseases, resulting in a loss of nearly 150 workers each day from preventable workplace conditions.

To read more click here.

30 Years of Hearing Loss Trends

A new study in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examines thirty years of hearing loss trends experienced by workers exposed to noise while at work, across various businesses. The analysis, released by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, discovered that while progress has been made in lessening the risk of hearing loss within most business sectors, additional efforts are needed within the Mining, Construction, and Social and Health Care Assistance sectors.

To read more click here.

OSHA severely underestimates costs of silica standard, construction coalition says

OSHA’s proposed silica standard will cost employers billions of dollars more than the agency has estimated, according to a report from the Construction Industry Safety Coalition.

The March 26 report states that the rule could cost the construction industry $5 billion a year – far greater than OSHA’s estimate of $500 million per year.

To read more click here.

After dozens of worker injuries, Pa. company hit with $1 million+ in fines

A Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania-based company has had approximately 40 serious injuries among its workforce since 2000. These injuries include serious lacerations as well as crushed, fractured, dislocated and amputated* fingers.

After numerous inspections, warnings and fines, OSHA has levied $822,000 in fines against the company — bringing its total to more than $1 million in the last fifteen years. The company has also been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

To read more click here.

Safety manager faces prison: Worker fatally burned in industrial oven

A former safety manager, an operations director and Bumble Bee Foods LLC all face criminal charges in connection with the death of an employee inside an industrial oven. Former Bumble Bee Safety Manager Saul Florez, the company’s Director of Plant Operations Angel Rodriguez and Bumble Bee Foods were charged with three felony counts each of an OSHA violation causing death. On Oct. 11, 2012, Jose Melena, 62, entered a 35-foot-long oven as part of his job at Bumble Bee’s Santa Fe Springs plant. Co-workers didn’t know Melena was inside. They loaded carts containing about 12,000 pounds of tuna into the oven, closed the door and started it.

To read more click here.

Preventing Facility Hazards: Electrical Safety Tips You Need to Know

May 27, 2015 by

Preventing Facility Hazards: Electrical Safety Tips You Need to Know

Two of the top ten OSHA electrical safety violations are electrical in nature; in addition 5% of all on the job fatalities are due to improper interaction with electricity, proving that electrical hazards are a literal force to be reckoned with and require the proper attention from safety managers when assessing facility safety programs.

Here are 10 electrical safety tips to keep in mind when protecting your workers from electrical hazards.

  1. Electrical Safety is important, any workplace and position can be affected by electricity. Before you begin your day make note of any electrical equipment you may come in contact with and ensure that it is properly grounded before use.
  2. Standing in any type of wetness while using an electrical device of any kind is not a good idea. Try to avoid it whenever possible, this includes power tools, tablets, mobile phones, etc.
  3. Assume power lines are always energized whenever your works brings you to an area where you need to be around them. Use non-conductive materials, and tools when near them.
  4. A standard operating procedure in electrical safety to bring any machine being worked on to complete zero, fully de-energized before beginning repair or services.
  5. After bringing a machine to complete zero for servicing, always use proper lock out protocol to prevent co-workers from re-energizing a machine while it is being worked on.
  6. Never wear rings, watches, wristbands, or use metallic pencils or rulers while working with electrical equipment.
  7. Ask can this job be completed with one hand? Only using one hand to work reduces the chances of electricity going through the chest cavity in the event of an accident.
  8. If a spill happens on or near a machine do not try to clean it up. Shut the machine down completely and unplug it.
  9. Never touch electrical equipment unless you are specifically instructed to do so. It is advisable to consider the use of electrical safety signs, and make sure your hands are not wet or sweating and as precaution use the back of your hand if possible.
  10. The NFPA 70E Requirement were just made in 2015, refer to the changes to see what your facility should now be doing differently to ensure maximum workplace electrical safety.

 

NFPA 70E 2015 Updates in Your Workplace

May 21, 2015 by

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NFPA 70E standards,  developed on the request of OSHA help protect against the dangers of arc flash, arc blast, direct current hazards, electrical design and provide informational guidance on the personal protective equipment available. Due to the rapid advances in technology in the workplace not only do the work processes get smarter but also the need to have more sophisticated plans in place for defending against the dangers that come along with them.

NFPA 70E standards make it easier to ensure an electrically safe facility and comply with OSHA 1910 Subpart S and OSHA 1926 Subpart K.

In order to keep up with ever-changing demands the NFPA has released updated to the 70E for 2015. Updates are usually made every 3 years, making the 2015 edition an update to the 2012 edition.

4 Key changes were made in this edition including:

  • Terminology
  • Coverage requirements
  • Elimination of HRC 0
  • Arc Flash / PPE Category Tables

 These 2015 updates further the effort of trying to ensure clarity around electric safety and where employee/employer responsibilities lie.

**Due to changes in the standards this does mean that some FR manufacturers will need to modify the labeling of their clothing to reflect the new terminology.

For more specific information regarding these changes click here .

Preparedness: How to Improve Safety in the Workplace

May 19, 2015 by

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There are a lot of “What ifs” in life, often followed by “that’ll never happen to me’s”, this way of thinking leaves people unprepared when the unthinkable does indeed happen to them. Often a dangerous mind set like this carries into the workplace, where consequences become even worse when disaster does strike. It is recommended that all companies have a worst case scenario plan in place. Having a concrete workplace safety plan will help cut down on the panic and chaos if an emergency situation occurs.

Key areas to keep in mind when assembling your workplace safety procedures include:

First Response

An emergency situation is underway what are the first and most critical steps in diffusing it? Do you have point people in place to carry out these tasks? How will you notify your employees of the situation and what are your directions for them to follow in order to keep everyone safe? How will you get in contact with local authorities if necessary? Do you have a backup safety plan?

The Situation

What type of emergency situation is underway? Do you have an emergency hazard communication labels or necessary supplies to combat or protect against it? What workplace safety ideas, plans have you put in place to safeguard any important information or documentation?

Aftermath

How will you assess the damage to your facility? Were you able to save all important information? Will your people be leery of coming back to work, and if so how will you help ease their fears? Having learned from your experience, what changes will you make to better your process should an emergency happen again? How much further training do you need to provide your employees?

If your facility doesn’t have a worst case scenario plan in place or even if it does, when is the last time it has been reviewed? Leaving your facility unprepared makes it most vulnerable to outside threats. For tips and best practices when beginning or updating your safety preparedness plans reference the resource made available through workplace safety tips from American Red Cross and OSHA to get started with the importance of workplace safety signs in your facility.

 

Globally Harmonized System: What You Need to Know In 2015?

May 13, 2015 by

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At the core of the Globally Harmonized System of the Classification and Labeling of Chemical (GHS) updates is safety by OSHA. Not only safety for your workers but safety for any worker who is walking into your facility or any facility in which GHS standards are being implemented. It is often difficult to keep the importance of safety in mind when the hassle of complying with these regulations is weighing heavily on your processes, and production begins to suffer as a result. Although the initial path to implementing compliance is rarely ever easy, the long term benefits of doing such, especially in the case of GHS will greatly make up for the upfront hassle.

GHS Goes International

Globally Harmonized System rules revolve around providing a safe journey for those interacting with hazardous materials from production to disposal. These standards have been adopted by 65 countries and counting as an international effort to get all companies on the same page when it comes to chemical safety regardless of the usual language geographic and regulatory barriers. In the U.S. alone the implementation of GHS will cover over 43 million workers.

The Barriers of GHS Adoption

GHS universally boils down to Safety Data Sheets, GHS Labels, and the classification of chemicals. This system requires businesses throughout the supply chain to communicate and share information to make sure that every step of the way, the same critical information is being passed along to all necessary parties. The June 2015 GHS Deadline in the U.S. marks the first time that businesses must come together to collectively be in compliance. In application this has become a point of difficulty for facilities as they struggle to get updated chemical information from upstream manufacturers and distributors. Hearing their concerns, OSHA GHS has provided a bit of leniency when it comes to fines for companies who show that they have made a concerted effort to comply with the deadline.

Long Term Benefits of the GHS Standard

The light at the end of the tunnel is near. After the June 2015 deadline, most of the heavy lifting from a compliance perspective will be in the rearview mirror for most companies. As GHS continues to gain leverage and understanding across workplaces, businesses will begin to reap the rewards of their labor. The hard work that they have put up front will come back in areas such as reduced workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities through the use of workplace safety signs, plus savings of more than $475 million across America, and reduced trade barriers around the world.

The future of GHS is bright, for those who choose to comply.

Brush up on your knowledge with these helpful resources:

GHS What you need to know Infographic

What is GHS FAQ Sheet

GHS Quiz

Understanding GHS Pictograms


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