OSHA's Outreach Training Program and CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training have developed a new OSHA 30-hour construction training elective course: Foundations for Safety Leadership. Responding to a training gap identified by contractors, unions and other industry stakeholders, FSL is designed to introduce construction workers, particularly foremen and lead workers, to five critical safety leadership skills needed to improve jobsite safety climate and safety outcomes. The course stresses the importance of leading by example, engaging and empowering team members, listening and communicating effectively, coaching and providing feedback, and recognizing team members who go above and beyond for safety. The FSL course will be available on OSHA’s Outreach Training Program webpage starting January 1, 2017.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
A new series of fact sheets outline changes made in 2014 to OSHA's general industry and construction standards covering work involving electric power generation, transmission and distribution lines and equipment. The revisions were made to better protect workers, while also making the two standards more consistent. The fact sheets highlight some of the major changes in the standards, as well as requirements for electrical protective equipment, fall protection, and minimum approach distance, information transfer and training.
OSHA has released new cards explaining employee whistleblower rights protected by the agency under five federal statutes covering occupational safety and health, commercial motor carriers, railroads, aviation, and securities fraud. Each card explains the activities protected by a specific statute, and provides contact information for OSHA and the time limit for filing a retaliation complaint. The information on each card is printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other
OSHA is extending the comment period for its proposal to revise provisions that may be confusing, outdated or unnecessary in the agency's recordkeeping, general industry, maritime and construction standards. Originally scheduled to expire Dec. 5, the comment period will be extended to Jan. 4, 2017, to allow parties more time to review the rule and collect necessary information and data for comments. Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov. Comments also may be submitted by facsimile or mail.
As a complement to its recommended practices to help employers in general industry establish safety and health programs in their workplaces, OSHA has released Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction. The recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who may not have safety and health specialists on staff. The goal of safety and health programs is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths as well as the financial difficulties these events can cause for workers, their families and their employers. For more information, see the news release.
Twenty-three workers have been killed and 12 others injured in trench collapses so far in 2016 – an alarming increase from the previous year. "There is no excuse,” said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA assistant secretary. "These fatalities are completely preventable by complying with OSHA standards that every construction contractor should know."
Among the victims was a 33-year-old employee, crushed to death this summer as he dug a 12-foot trench for KRW Plumbing LLC of Ohio. An OSHA investigation found that KRW failed to protect its workers from the dangers of trench collapses. The company was issued two willful and two serious violations, with proposed penalties of $274,359.
OSHA's trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than 5 feet, with soil and other materials kept at least two feet from the edge of trench. OSHA has a national emphasis program on trenching and excavations with the goal of increasing hazard awareness and employer compliance with safety standards. For more information, read the news release.
New final rule updates walking-working surfaces standards and establishes personal fall protection requirements
OSHA issued a final rule Nov. 17 updating its 44-year old general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standard to protect workers from slip, trip, and fall hazards. The rule also increases consistency in safety and health standards for people working in both general and construction industries. OSHA estimates the final rule will prevent more than 5,800 injuries a year. The rule takes effect Jan. 17, 2017.
"The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. The rule's most significant update is allowing employers to select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of accepted options. For more information, read the news release.
Monday, November 21, 2016
OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for Construction that is intended to help small business employers comply with the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. The guide describes in easy-to-understand language the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees in construction from the hazards associated with silica exposure. All covered must: provide respiratory protection when required; restrict silica exposure from housekeeping practices where feasible; implement a written exposure control plan; offer medical exams to workers who will need to wear a respirator for 30 or more days a year; communicate hazards and train employees; and keep records of medical examinations. Enforcement of the final rule in construction is due to begin June 23, 2017.
New research demonstrates how occupational safety and health can play a key role in business sustainability strategies
Although "sustainability" has been traditionally associated with environmental activities, there is a growing movement to expand the definition. The Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council recently released a white paper, Profiles in Sustainability: Business, Community, and Environment, describing how member companies are integrating worker safety and health into their overall sustainability planning. Safety and health professionals can use the information to define, drive, measure and report their own sustainability efforts.
Public meetings set on hazard communication issues: potential rulemaking and interagency collaboration
OSHA will hold a public meeting to discuss potential updates to the Hazard Communication Standard on Nov. 16, 2016, in Arlington, Va. OSHA is beginning its rulemaking efforts to maintain alignment of the Hazard Communication Standard with the most recent revision of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The agency is requesting feedback from stakeholders on issues that they would like OSHA to consider in the rulemaking. The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Mine Safety and Health Administration Headquarters, 201 12th St. South, Suite 700, Arlington, Va. 22202. For more information on conference call-in capability and pre-registration instructions, see the Federal Register notice.
In addition, two meetings related to hazardous materials are set for Nov. 15 at Department of Transportation's headquarters in Washington, DC. In the morning, from 9 to noon, DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will discuss proposals in preparation for the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods session in Switzerland later this year. From 1 to 4 p.m., OSHA will host a public meeting of the U.S. Interagency System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals Coordinating Group. Topics will include an update on GHS-related issues and a discussion of public comments. For more information on conference call-in capability and pre-registration instructions, see the Federal Register notice.
Additional information about these public meetings is available on OSHA's Hazard Communication webpage.