Wednesday, May 18, 2016
OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Center for Construction Research and Training have developed a new series of infographics that illustrates the importance of preventing falls in construction. These infographics, available in both English and Spanish, raise awareness on fall hazards and resources for preventing them – including a ladder safety app. The infographics can be downloaded as PDFs or JPEGs for use in social media, presentations and print materials from stopconstructionfalls.com.
Three new fact sheets are available for free downloading from OSHA's Publications webpage. A ladder jack scaffolds fact sheet* illustrates how to prevent injuries from falls when using work platforms supported by portable ladders. A confined spaces fact sheet* emphasizes the OSHA requirement for employers to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue or emergency services in permit-required confined spaces. Lastly, a fact sheet on longshoring in marine terminals* describes how to prevent semi-tractor driver injuries during container lifting operations.
OSHA has published a new chapter in theOSHA Technical Manual. Chapter 4, Section V, "Fall Protection in Construction," provides OSHA inspectors with technical information critical in evaluating fall hazards and abatement methods in the construction industry. This chapter includes key information on fall prevention, hazard assessment, and detailed images on protection equipment.
Because nearly half of all construction worker deaths are due to falls, OSHA is holding its third annual National Safety Stand-Down May 2-6.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a study last month in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on hearing impairment among noise-exposed workers in the United States from 2003 to 2012. This study found a prevalence of 13 percent hearing loss (mild to complete) among 1.4 million audiograms studied. This study confirms and quantifies the prevalence of hearing loss among employees of nine major industry sectors. The mining, construction and manufacturing industries had the highest prevalence of workers with any hearing impairment or moderate to severe hearing impairment. Occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common U.S. work-related illness. NIOSH estimates that 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous occupational noise. For more information, see OSHA's Occupational Noise Exposure webpage.
An outbreak of Zika is spreading through Central and South America, Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean, including U.S. territories. Though Zika currently isn't spreading on the mainland through mosquitoes—the main route of transmission of the virus—employers and workers should take steps to prevent or minimize the risk of Zika infection if transmission starts to occur or if they work with travelers returning to the U.S. with Zika. An OSHA and NIOSH interim guidance* provides recommendations on protecting workers who may be at risk for Zika virus infection through on-the-job exposure to mosquitoes or the blood or other body fluids of infected individuals. Visit OSHA's Zika webpage for more information.
Every year more than 4,800 workers go to work and never return home as a result of entirely preventable workplace incidents and another 50,000 workers die from preventable work-related diseases. To remember and honor these workers, OSHA, unions, family members, workers and employers come together each year on April 28 to commemorate Workers Memorial Day.
"Tomorrow and every day thereafter, in honor of those we have lost, we will fight to make sure that every American worker is protected against the myriad of hazards out there affecting their safety, their health, their lives and the security of their families," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels.
Workers Memorial Day was recognized by President Obama in a presidential proclamation issued April 28 and OSHA hosted an event marking the occasion at the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. The program included remarks from Deputy Secretary Chris Lu, OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels, MSHA Assistant Secretary Joe Main, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Director Peg Seminario, United Steelworkers Safety and Health Director Mike Wright, and Duronda Pope from the United Steelworkers' Emergency Response Team.
This was just one of the many events commemorating Workers Memorial Day held across the country throughout the week, where participants rededicated themselves to the mission of preventing workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. To learn more, visit the Workers Memorial Day webpage.
Register now to hold your seat in the June 1-3, 2016 “CAOHC Approved Occupational Hearing Conservation Certification Course” with CAOHC Course Director Timothy A. Swisher, MA, CCC-A.
Friday, April 22, 2016
OSHA held a public event on March 24 at the International Masonry Institute in Bowie, Md., to announce a final rule to protect workers by reducing their exposure to respirable silica dust. The rule will curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers.
The event was attended by more than 200 people, including several victims of silica-related diseases. Speakers included U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels and Tom Ward, whose father died of silicosis. Later, attendees were able to watch apprentice bricklayers demonstrate cutting and drilling equipment that uses water to keep dust from getting into the air or a ventilation system to remove it from the air.
The final rule contains two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime. Both standards reduce the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica and include employer requirements to protect workers, such as by limiting worker exposure through work practices and engineering controls; training workers; limiting their access to high exposure areas and providing medical exams to highly exposed workers.
The National Safety Council designates April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time to draw attention to the hazards of using cell phones while driving. As the NSC notes, phone use while driving, including texting and reading social media, has contributed to thousands of highway deaths. Employers can play a big role in protecting workers who drive for their job. The NSC encourages employers to download its employer cell phone policy toolkit and to read the Cummins cell phone policy case study* . In addition, NSC is offering its online Defensive Driving Class at no charge from April 18 to 24. To enroll in the class, go to NSC’s online registration form and enter “distracted” as the access code.
"OSHA reminds employers that they have a responsibility to protect their workers by prohibiting texting while driving. It is a violation of the OSH Act for employers to require workers to text while driving, create incentives that encourage or condone it, or structure work so that texting while driving is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job. For more information, please see OSHA’s Distracted Driving brochure*.
The third annual National Safety Stand-Down will take place from May 2 to 6, as employers across the country pause during the workday to engage workers in discussions, demonstrations, and training on how to recognize hazards and prevent falls. The event is part of OSHA’s effort to remind and educate construction employers and workers of the serious dangers of falls, which remain the leading cause of death in the industry.
Please visit OSHA’s Stand-Down webpage to learn how to participate as an employer or find an event in your area. All attendees will be eligible to receive a certificate of participation.
Two large-scale events are planned for the D.C. area: On May 3, all work will be suspended on the construction site of the MGM National Harbor Resort while OSHA and construction company representatives give presentations and training on fall prevention. On May 5, local construction companies and associations will host a stand-down event at The Fairgrounds at the Nationals baseball stadium that will include vendor exhibits, safety demonstrations and other interactive events.
In addition, OSHA Training Institute Education Centers will offer free fall protection training courses across the country.