Monday, July 20, 2015

OSHA issues temporary enforcement policy for confined spaces in construction

OSHA is instituting a 60-day temporary enforcement policy of its Confined Spaces in Construction standard. Full enforcement of the new standard, which goes into effect Aug. 3, is being postponed to Oct. 2 in response to requests for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard.
During this 60-day temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. Employers must be in compliance with either the training requirements of the new standard* or the previous standard. Employers who fail to train their employees consistent with either of these two standards will be cited.
Factors that indicate employers are making good faith efforts to comply include: scheduling training for employees as required by the new standard; ordering the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard; and taking alternative measures to educate and protect employees from confined space hazards.
OSHA issued the Confined Spaces in Construction final rule on May 4, 2015. OSHA estimates that the rule could protect nearly 800 construction workers a year from serious injuries and reduce life-threatening hazards. For more information, read the news release.

New NIOSH blog provides update on the risk of silicosis

blog by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health discusses new data showing silicosis is continuing to cause or contribute to about 100 worker deaths a year. It also explains the emergence of new occupations and tasks, such as hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells, are placing workers at risk of exposure to silica.
Silicosis is a disabling, incurable and sometimes fatal lung disease caused by the inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles.
Effective strategies for employers on preventing occupational exposure to hazardous silica are available on OSHA's Silica Safety and Health Topics webpage andNIOSH's website. OSHA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica in September 2013. For more information, visit the rulemaking page.

Fatal Facts on confined spaces in manholes, OSHA It's the Law poster

A new addition to OSHA's Fatal Facts series emphasizes employers' responsibilities to protect workers from confined space hazards while working in sewer line manholes*Fatal Facts describe cases where employers failed to identify and correct hazardous working conditions before they resulted in fatalities at their worksites. This Fatal Facts is based on a case where a construction worker suffocated after entering a manhole. It includes references to the new Confined Space in Construction Standard that takes effect on August 3, 2015.
Also available is OSHA's free Job Safety and Health: It's the Law! poster* that informs workers of their rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. All covered employers are required to predominantly display the poster in their workplaces where workers can see it. The poster can be downloaded from OSHA's workplace poster Web page in English, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Nepali.

OSHA heat app surpasses 200K downloads

More than 200,000 users have downloaded the OSHA Heat Safety Tool since its launch in 2011. This spring, OSHA released a new version of the app for Apple devices, with full-screen color alerts, improved navigation and accessibility options.
This improved version lets you know instantly if you are in a high-risk zone due to heat and humidity and precautions that need to be taken to prevent heat-related illness. The recently updated app gives users important safety information when and where they need it -- right on their mobile phones. Download this life-saving app today.
More information on preventing heat-related illness is available on OSHA's website, where you can find fact sheets, training manuals, community posters, and more in both English and Spanish.

Free on-site consultation services available to help employers improve workplace safety and health

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential occupational safety and health advice to small and medium-sized businesses across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites.
The services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.
In response to requests from employers seeking to reduce safety and health hazards at their workplaces, consultants visited about 27,000 worksites with more than 1.25 million workers in FY2014. For more information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Consultation Services brochure, available in English and Spanish.