Friday, April 22, 2016

Long-awaited rule on silica unveiled at emotionally charged event

:It was killing me and I had no idea. It's just a slow death.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.
Visit OSHA's silica rule webpage for factsheets, answers to frequently asked questions, and to sign up for email updates on compliance dates and resources.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Take Back Your DriveThe 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*.

Top Story National Safety Stand-Down to take place May 2-6

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.