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...

Thousands of businesses to be affected by OSHA’s proposed recordkeeping rules

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is planning changes that would affect how businesses track and report on workplace injuries.

The proposed revisions to injury and illness recordkeeping rules would require employers to report work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours of occurrence, and all work-related amputations within 24 hours. Reporting amputations is not required under the existing regulation.

Also, the rule would update the section of OSHA’s recordkeeping rule that list industries exempt from injury and illness reporting requirements. Currently, some industries aren’t required to report due to their relatively low injury and illness rates. However, these industries are currently classified under the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, not the more widely used North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The proposed rule would update the list to reflect NAICS classification, as well as more current Injury and Illness rates and, as a result, some industries formerly … Read more...

OSHA offers teleconferences to small business on proposed changes to 300 Log

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is looking for your feedback on plans to alter the 300 Log, a form containing details on workplace injuries and illnesses that must be completed by most U.S. businesses on a regular basis.

OSHA wants to restore a column to the log that would require employers to enter details on work-related muscoskeletal disorders (MSD).

Some opponents of the proposal to restore the column have complained that it is actually an attempt to revive an ergonomics standard that was repealed a decade ago. Before then, OSHA’s injury and illness log contained one column that lumped MSDs together with hearing. OSHA had planned on separating the two into separate columns, but the MSD column was removed altogether by 2003. Opponents also claim the new column might place an unnecessary burden on small businesses.

OSHA head Dr. David Michaels has insisted most small businesses won’t need … Read more...

Imagine: one-click OSHA Form 300 and 300A reports

Most organizations waste days upon days preparing requisite safety incident logs, pushing and pulling data from paper-based forms, spreadsheets, and other siloed software products.

A robust electronic safety incident reporting process, however, will include configurable reporting tools that enable organizations to generate reports based on customized templates that address all safety reporting requirements. By ensuring the timely, accurate and comprehensive creation of required reports, and organization can eliminate the risk of facing substantial fines imposed by regulatory bodies as a result of poor reporting.

For example U.S. companies must generate and post OSHA incident reports on a monthly and annual basis. These reports must contain information such as how many people were injured, how many days away resulted from incidents, how many incidents were recordable, where the incidents occurred, as well as other details.

A streamlined incident reporting solution allows safety personnel to generate automatically populated OSHA Form 300 and … Read more...

Top Safety Stories of 2010

This was a big year for safety in the news. Between mine disasters, new food safety rules, and widespread recalls, there was no shortage of safety-related headlines. Here’s a rundown of the Top 5 Safety Stories of 2010, in no particular order:

U.S. Food Safety Modernization

As a usually unproductive lame-duck session of U.S. Congress came to a close with an unusually productive string of new legislation. Chief among U.S. lawmakers’ achievements was the passing of the Food Safety Modernization Act, a bill that will give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to increase the frequency of inspections, target high-risk sites, recall tainted foods, boost oversight of farms, better trace food-borne illnesses to their source, and more. The bill marks the first significant changes to food safety in the U.S. in nearly 75 years.

Mine Disasters and Chilean Mine Rescue

The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in April … Read more...

Learning to Love OSHA Inspections

Do you live in fear of OSHA safety inspections? Sure, you think your ducks are more or less in a row, but the spectre of surprise inspections hovers over you like a storm cloud on the horizon.

When you clean your house thoroughly from top to bottom, doesn’t a part of you kind of wish company would drop by unexpectedly?

Can you imagine actually looking forward to a surprise OSHA inspection?

It’s easier than you think, but just as maintaining a clean house takes sustained effort, you’ll have to make thorough safety management a part of your day-to-day regime. The following tips will help you prepare for and even embrace surprise inspections:

Know Thyself: It is critical to track all safety-related information and to maintain detailed documentation on your organization’s safety record. Also, note which industry category your business falls within and whether your sector is considered high-risk. The … Read more...

Be a safety leader with OSHA VPP recognition

So, you’re meeting the status quo and passing your safety inspections. That’s great, but it’s no reason to let your safety program stagnate. Why not aim a little higher?

While a no-accident policy is definitely a noble goal and achievable in some industries, it is important to set realistic yet demanding goals. OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is a great way to start.

VPP essentially recognizes worksites that have gone above and beyond in their health and safety efforts by implementing top-of-the-line safety management systems. Sites awarded by the program are considered exemplary leaders in safety performance and are eligible to receive one of three rankings:

  • Star: The highest level of recognition, the Star Program recognizes sites that have achieved injury and illness rates at or below their industry’s average, self-sufficiently control workplace hazards, and boast the most robust, comprehensive safety management programs.
  • Merit: Merit sites are on
Read more...

Firms face OSHA’s Failure-To-Abate awakening

So you’ve reached a settlement with OSHA. That’s great—but you’re not in the clear until you abate.
 
That’s what two New York-based firms learned earlier this month after OSHA slapped both companies with fines exceeding $200,000 each under its Failure-To-Abate conditions.
 
In one case a concrete company was penalized $210,000 for failing to eliminate fall hazards, and in the other a salad preparation company was fined $247,050 for failing to provide fall protection, machine guarding and hazardous energy control for workers at the plant. 
 
The fines follow OSHA inspections of the concrete company in 2008 and the salad company in 2009 and constitute a clear reminder OSHA is serious about following up on any settlement agreements it reaches with violators.
 
Failure-To-Abate penalties are severe, resulting in a maximum fine of $7,000 per violation, per day for each day the cited condition is not abated, for up
Read more...

Update from ASSE Conference

Here's an update from the ASSE Safety Conference…

Live from the ASSE Safety 2010 conference in Baltimore, MD!  Intelex has been having a great time at the show meeting many new people and connecting with the numerous Intelex clients who are attending. 

We had a fantastic time hosting a little after-show meet and greet on Monday night, attended by a number of potential and current clients.  We tried some local brews, chatted about the software and got to know each other a little better. 

The show continues through the end of June 15th, so feel free to swing by the Intelex booth and meet with Jason Fitzpatrick and Kyle Dodsworth.

To find out more about Intelex's solutions for Safety Management have a look through our products pages or give us a call at 1-877-932-3747.Read more...