US Labor Department’s OSHA exposes safety and health hazards at construction sites through no-notice incident prevention campaign

This release has been reposted from www.dol.gov.

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has concluded its 2012 “Construction Incident Prevention Initiative,” during which it issued 243 citations and assessed a total of $658,862 in proposed fines to companies on construction sites throughout the agency’s Philadelphia Region.

The four-month campaign included 545 no-notice inspections focused on falls, trenches and silica exposure. Fifty-nine percent of the inspections revealed violations, some of the most common of which are failing to use fall protection when working on roofs, ensure that scaffolds are constructed safely and protect trenches from collapse.

“This alarmingly high number of violations underscores the need for employers in the construction industry to make a stronger commitment to workplace safety and health,” said MaryAnn Garrahan, OSHA’s regional administrator in Philadelphia. “Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces, and will be held legally accountable … Read more...

OSHA Announces Top 10 Violations for 2012

It was mentioned previously in our podcast that at the NSC (National Safety Council) Congress and Expo in Orlando this past October, Deputy Director of the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, presented the top 10 violations of the administration’s safety rules for fiscal year 2012.  

While it’s easy at first glance to look at the list and get discouraged thinking workplace safety has a long way to go, Kapust commented in an interview with Safety+Health that “data found in the Top 10 list is not meant to gauge how well OSHA is performing or how safe businesses in the country are. This list is at its best when used by employers as a tool to improve safety at their worksites. An employer who may be interested in what are the possible hazards in their workplace could look at the [Top 10] list and see if they’re covering all … Read more...

In 2011, over 4,600 Americans left for work and ‘never returned home to their families’

So the U.S. Bureau of Labor released 2011 Statistics’ on workplace deaths. Turns out just over 4,600 American workers died from work-related injuries last year. Yes, this does indicate a slight decline from the previous year when more than 4,690 Americans died on the job, but in both cases that represents about 13 workplace deaths a day – and that’s too many.

In light of this, as reported over at EHS Today, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSE) is asking one key question: “Where is the concern?”

ASSE President, Richard A. Pollock (pictured, noted that the 2011 rate of workplace fatalities, in spite of a marginal decline over 2010 numbers, “alarming” and “unacceptable.”

He emphasized three key things:

  • Businesses need effective management systems to proactively identify any health and safety issues before they lead to injuries and fatalities. 
  • Health and safety issues are not solely associated with dangerous industries
Read more...

Make sure you aren’t overlooking safety observations….

In the world of Power Utilities, the idea of recordable incidents, corrective actions, refresher training, etc. often comes up. What is becoming more and more apparent with an increase in overall Safety Awareness is a move towards safety observations and exchanges.

Employees are now, more than ever, being encouraged to record an observation around safety to be more proactive and prevent future incidents from taking place. Always looking for and recognizing potential hazards doesn’t mean there’s a need for more training or a “process” to be launched, it can just be something for other employees should be made aware of; either by recording it in a system or just a discussion over the water cooler or during a monthly evaluation with management.

Safety exchanges are shared at the start of meetings, or again during employee evaluations to further promote safety awareness company-wide. As a result of this proactive behavior, we’re … Read more...

The third annual Aberdeen Report – Environmental, Health and Safety: Going Beyond Compliance

So you’ve recognized the need to re-evaluate your Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) program. Now what? For starters, it’s important to address all regulations to ensure compliance within your specific industry.  By meeting these criteria, your company can better manage risks and unexpected adverse events in the workplace, and gain more control in return.

In its recently released third annual report, Environmental, Health and Safety: Going Beyond Compliance, Aberdeen delivers information on vital EHS initiatives within an organization and outlines how technology solutions can be key contributors to establishing an organizational roadmap towards compliance and beyond. 

The main points outlined in the report include pressures on driving a focus on EHS, overcoming organizational resistance to implementing an EHS strategy, and enabling visibility into critical EHS performance data and compliance mandates.  With inspiring case studies on consolidation and successful environmental system streamlining, this report provides many significant factors involved in implementing … Read more...

In the heat of the moment

‘Water, rest and shade’ are the three key components U.S Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis, will be focusing on promoting to outdoor workers in the upcoming summer of 2012.   It’s all part of OSHA’s recently launched national outreach initiative to raise awareness over the dangers of working outside in hot weather. 

Every year, heat exhaustion reaches thousands of outdoor workers in industries such as roofing, construction, transportation, utilities, and landscaping, to name a few.  While onsite, what employees may initially discover with simple heat rashes and cramps can often result in severe heat stroke or even fatality. 

Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, says these are workplace hazards that can be easily avoided with simple precautions.  “Anyone who works outside is at risk”, adds Michaels, “Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas are incredibly important in the hot summer months.”  To add to Read more...

Playing it safe with the Partners and Prevention Conference Series

Intelex will be joining the Health and Safety Conference and Trade Show (part of the Partners in Prevention Conference Series) in Mississauga, Ontario, early this week.  This fantastic show currently holds the title as Canada’s largest health and safety event and will take place on May 1st and May 2ndat the International Centre.

Excited to connect with key health and safety professionals in the industry and compare best-practices in the field, Intelex’ own solutions experts  Steve Buffett and Ethan Cushing will be exhibiting first-hand how Intelex’s environmental, health and safety software  can help companies overcome critical workplace obstacles.

Be sure to join Steve and Ethan at booth #455!… Read more...

Top 10 essential tips to ensure top-notch training tracking

Gone are the days that monitoring and tracking employee training is a nice to have. Maintaining this information plays a big part in both having visibility into the competency of your employees and in mitigating the corporate risk that can devastate a company if it’s not in place.

And organizations use this information in multiple ways. If you have had any exposure to the ISO set of standards, you’ll know that pretty much every standard outlined by ISO (be it 14001, 9001, 26000, 50001 etc.) includes training as an essential component.  So if you want to be certified or just conform to the standard, you better make sure that your training tracking house is in order.

But it doesn’t stop at ISO standards, look at the regulatory bodies around occupational health and safety, specifically OSHA in the US and WSIB and other agencies in Canada and around the world; not adhering … Read more...

OSHA increases encouragement of whistleblower claims – what employers should know

On March 12 of this year OSHA issued a memorandum on “Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies & Practices” to address its increased focus on whistleblower enforcement.

With this growing focus on embracing the whistleblower, employers must now ensure that they provide employees an avenue for reporting workplace incidents free of any negative repercussions and recognize that OSHA considers “reporting an injury to always be a protected activity,” and will raise flags if employees are disciplined or terminated after doing so. Employers are encouraged to assess their current incident reporting procedures and ensure that OSHA will not deem them to “unduly burden the employee’s right and ability to report.”

To learn more about what can be expected from this change, check out Howard Mavity’s article, OSHA Formalizes Criticism of Employee Safety Incentive Programs, Increases Encouragement of Whistleblower Claims. Mavity is a senior partner with the Atlanta office and co-chair Read more...

What is an OSHA 300 Log and Do you Need One?

Many businesses across the U.S. are well-acquainted with OSHA Form 300 logs, reports generated on a monthly (300) and annual (300A) basis that list all work-related injuries and illnesses.

While hundreds of thousands of businesses are currently bound to report, there is a long list of industries that have been exempt from reporting.

But all that is poised to change.

If a proposed rulemaking becomes law, many previously exempt industries will be required to report workplace injuries and illnesses in accordance with Form 300 and 300A requirements. Dozens of industries (including bakeries, automotive dealers, performing arts companies, and many more) would be affected by the expanded regulation. That said, some organizations that have previously been required to report may not have to. Check out the highly useful OSHA Law Blog for a complete list.

While completing these logs can be a tedious, time-consuming process with a lot of paperwork, well-prepared … Read more...