Friday, April 24, 2015

OSHA and National Safety Council urge employers to protect workers from the dangers of distracted driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and an excellent time to review workplace transportation policies. Each year, more than 35,000 people are killed on America's roads and traffic collisions are the number one cause of workplace deaths.
In a recent guest post on DOL's blog, National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah Hersman explains the dangers associated with distracted driving and describes available tools, including a free cell phone policy kit, to help employers protect workers from these risks.
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, including a Distracted Driving brochure*, visit OSHA's Distracted Driving webpage.

New National Safety Stand-Down video unveiled

The 2015 National Safety Stand-Down is nearly here! From May 4 to 15 companies across the country will stop their work, provide focused talks on fall prevention, and re-commit themselves to on-the-job safety. A new promotional video is now available to encourage employers in various industries to participate. The video reminds viewers that falls are the leading cause of death in construction, having killed more than 3,500 workers over the last decade, but every fall can be prevented with the right equipment and training. Last year more than 1 million employers and workers across the country joined the effort, and this year OSHA and its partners hope to reach over 3 million people at over 20,000 stand-down events.
Learn how you can be a part of this international effort by visiting our 2015 Stand-Down page. Download or order free fall prevention training materials in both English and Spanish, including the new 2015 Stand-Down poster*, find a list of local events, and also receive a certificate of participation signed by Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

April is National Workplace Violence Prevention Month: OSHA updates guidance for healthcare and social services

In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 23,000 significant injuries due to assaults in the workplace. Over 70 percent were in the healthcare and social service settings. Healthcare and social service workers are almost four times as likely to be injured as a result of violence than the average private sector worker.
On April 2, 2015, OSHA kicked off National Workplace Violence Prevention month by releasing an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers(PDF*).
OSHA’s updated violence prevention guidelines include industry best practices and incorporate the most effective way to reduce the risk of violence in a range of healthcare and social service settings.
“It is unacceptable that the people who dedicate their lives to caring for our loved ones often work in fear of being hurt or killed,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Workplace violence is one of the most serious hazards facing healthcare workers in this country and this updated booklet will help employers and employees implement effective measures to reduce or eliminate workplace violence hazards.”
For more on the revised guidelines for healthcare and social services industries, see the news release. For more on how to prevent workplace violence in all settings, see OSHA’s workplace violence Web page and blog.