Friday, February 20, 2015

Staffing association launches new Web page dedicated to temporary worker safety

The American Staffing Association has launched a new Web page dedicated to temporary worker safety entitled "Safety Matters: Keeping Temporary Workers Safe on the Job." It includes various safety resources and links to OSHA publications, and prominently features two videos – one with the remarks by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, and a second one featuring several ASA board members addressing the importance of temporary worker safety.
This ASA web page complements OSHA's own page, "Protecting Temporary Workers," which consolidates the agency's safety and health resources for temporary workers including "Recommended Practices: Protecting Temporary Workers."

OSHA gears up for annual Fall Safety Stand-Down in Construction

Building on its unprecedented participation from last year's event, OSHA has announced this year's Fall Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction, scheduled for May 4-15, 2015. Last year, tens of thousands of employers and more than 1 million workers across the country joined OSHA in a week-long construction Fall Safety Stand-Down, the largest occupational safety event ever hosted in the United States.
"With the economy on the rebound and housing starts on the rise, now is the time to for all of us to renew our commitment to sending workers home safe every night," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Last year's Stand-Down showed us what employers and workers sharing that commitment can accomplish. Responsible employers understand that safety is not a luxury – it is a necessity."
During the 2015 two-week stand-down, employers and workers will pause during their workday to focus on preventing fatalities from falls through talks, demonstrations and trainings.
The National Fall Safety Stand-Down is part of OSHA's construction fall prevention campaign, launched three years ago with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda and CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training. The newly launched 2015 National Safety Stand-Down Web page provides details on how to conduct a stand-down; receive a certificate of participation; and access free education and training resources, fact sheets and other outreach materials in English and Spanish. See the news release for more information.

Winter Storm Hazards: Web page offers guidance for employers and workers

As the temperatures drop and winter storms head in, employers can take measure to keep workers safe. OSHA's Winter Weather Web page provides information on protecting workers from hazards they may face while working outside during the winter, particularly in severe cold weather.
The Web page provides guidance on how to recognize snow storm-related hazards and the necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe while working in these conditions. This guidance includes how to protect workers from hazards associated with clearing heavy snow in front of workplaces and from rooftops.

New outreach materials focus on Tree Care Workers; Temporary Workers

OSHA has released two new bilingual –English and Spanish—on-the-job quick references for employers and employees. Tree Care Work: Know the Hazards (PDF*) addresses the most common tree care work hazards and ways in which employers can prevent them.
The Temporary Worker (PDF*) pocket-sized pamphlet reminds individuals working through a staffing agency that they have the same rights as any other worker. The pamphlet is part of OSHA's Temporary Worker Initiative, which focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are employed under the joint employment of a staffing agency and a host employer.
These bilingual resources are easy-to-read, durable in design and ideal for health and safety trainings, consultations, and inspections. To order quantities of these or any other OSHA materials, visit OSHA's Publications Web page or call the Publications Office at (202) 693-1888.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

OSHA publications accessible on smartphones and tablets; Safety and Health Information Bulletins available

If you use a smartphone or a tablet on the job, important worker safety and health information is a click away. Dozens of electronic publications can be downloaded at no cost from OSHA's Publications Web page. To order publications, contact OSHA's Publications Office at 202-693-1888.
Safety and Health Information Bulletins are also now accessible on OSHA's publications page. SHIBs help raise awareness of significant occupational safety and health issues concerning hazard recognition, evaluation and control in the workplace and at emergency response sites. The documents focus on various topics such as bloodborne pathogens, confined spaces, construction operations, and health and safety hazards to help employers and safety professionals provide a safe and healthful workplace for workers.

OSHA-NIOSH guidance addresses fatigue among Ebola healthcare workers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and OSHA have published a new guidance document, "Preventing Worker Fatigue Among Ebola Healthcare Workers and Responders" (*PDF). Healthcare workers and emergency responders are often required to work extended, rotating, consecutive or otherwise unusual shifts. They also need enhanced personal protective equipment when working with Ebola patients or in Ebola-contaminated areas. These conditions increase the risk of injuries and can contribute to poor health and worker fatigue. The new guidance document provides information for protecting workers in these conditions. For more information about protecting workers from occupational exposure to Ebola virus and related hazards, also see OSHA's Ebola Web page.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New reporting requirements go into effect January 1

Beginning January 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.
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 are not simply paperwork but 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 can report online at www.osha.gov/report_online. For more information and resources, including a new YouTube video, visit OSHA's Web page on the updated reporting requirements.

Starting January 1, 2015:
All employers* must report: 
  • All work-related fatalities
    within 8 hours
Within 24 hours, all work-related: 
  • Inpatient hospitalizations
  • Amputations
  • Losses of an eye  
How to Report Incident
*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.

NIOSH publication highlights ways to protect retail workers from material handling injuries

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently released a 23-page booklet showing procedures employers can share with workers in grocery stores to reduce the risk of strains and sprains when moving materials from the delivery truck to the sales floor.
Ergonomic Solutions for Retailers (PDF*) uses a series of illustrations to show how and where employees in a retail setting, such as a grocery store, would use mechanical assist devices to lift, push or pull heavy materials—job tasks that can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Manual material handling injuries, also called overexertion injuries, account for 60 percent of the injuries and lost work in select retail businesses.
Although this new publication focuses on the grocery sector, the easy-to-read format can be adapted to other scenarios including for those working in warehouse and storage facilities. The technology presented may also support a retailer's growing Internet sales that depend on moving large quantities of merchandise often with fewer employees. See the NIOSH news release for more information.

New educational resources: interagency fact sheet on safe handling of Ebola-contaminated waste, booklet on hydraulic fracturing hazards

Workers involved in handling, treatment, transport, and disposal of medical, laboratory and other waste must be protected from exposure to infectious agents, including Ebola virus, which causes Ebola virus disease. Contaminated waste may pose a greater risk to workers if it is not handled safely or packaged, treated, and disposed of properly.
OSHA's new fact sheet, "Safe Handling, Treatment, Transport, and Disposal of Ebola-Contaminated Waste,"(PDF*)  was developed jointly with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. It helps employers take the necessary steps to protect workers whose jobs involve tasks throughout the waste cycle, from the point of waste generation through final disposition of treated waste products. The new guidance also encourages employers to create a waste management plan and secure necessary contracts and permits ahead of time in order to help avoid potential exposure hazards, security risks and storage problems.
In addition to exposure to the Ebola virus, the new interagency guidance also helps employers protect workers from physical and chemical hazards that may be associated with waste management. VisitOSHA's Ebola page for more information on how employers must protect their workers from the Ebola virus, as well as from these other related hazards.
As mentioned in the story above, OSHA also recently published Hydraulic Fracturing and Flowback Hazards Other than Respirable Silica (PDF*). This booklet was the product of the OSHA oil and gas workgroup with assistance from the National STEPS network team.
Publications are available to download at no cost by visiting OSHA's website. To order publications, contact OSHA's Publications Office at 202-693-1888.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New factsheets available on tube and coupler scaffold safety: "Planning and Design" and "Erection and Use"

Two new OSHA fact sheets – "Tube and Coupler Scaffold Planning and Design" (PDF*) and "Tube and Coupler Scaffold Erection and Use" (PDF*) – are now available to help employers protect construction workers using this type of scaffold on the job. Workers building scaffolds are at risk for serious injury from falls and tip-overs, being struck by falling tools and other hazards, and electrocution from energized power lines. Before starting any scaffold project, employers should conduct a hazard assessment to ensure the safety of workers. For more information on scaffolding, visit OSHA's scaffolding safety page.