Silica Enforcement: OSHA Rules Arrive for General Industry, Maritime

As of June 23, 2018, OSHA’s silica enforcement has arrived for general industry and maritime workplaces.

The new standard creates an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, as well as an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Other rules include keeping silica-related records and offering medical surveillance to employees.

In the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will help employees that are “making good faith efforts” to comply with the new silica standard. Any silica citations issued during this 30-day period will be reviewed by the National Office before the citations are issued.

For more insight into how OSHA will enforce the silica standard during this interim period, read the administration’s silica enforcement guidance memo that was sent to all OSHA Regional Administrators.

The updated silica final rule was originally published back on March 25, 2016, creating two new standards: one for construction and one for general industry/maritime. Most of the construction standard became enforceable on September 23, 2017.

Dangers of Silica

Silica is a common mineral found on Earth, but when it becomes small enough to enter our lungs, it becomes a major health risk for humans.

Many common work activities — including cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing stone, rock concrete, brick and mortar — create respirable crystalline silica, which are particles that are at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand. About 2.3 million workers are exposed to silica dust in the U.S. 

Workers who inhale silica are at an increased risk of potentially fatal diseases such as:

  • Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death
  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Kidney disease

SCT is your Silica Solution

The workplace safety experts at SCT can solve all of your silica hazards and help you reach OSHA compliance. We offer both a 2-hour awareness and 8-hour competent person training course. SCT is your One Stop Shop for all things silica. We can train your employees, create a customized written safety plan, deliver high-quality personal protective equipment, and everything in between.

Call us today at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.








captcha

 

 

 

N is for Noise Hazards in the Workplace

Can you hear me now? Good!

According to the Centers for Disease Control, hearing loss is the most common workplace injury. With more than 20 million U.S. workers exposed to damaging noise at work each year, noise hazards are present in almost every workplace.

Our experts at SCT can create a comprehensive workplace safety plan designed to eliminate noise hazards and other safety risks at your workplace.

Make sure your volume is set to a safe level and watch our newest ABCs of Safety video to learn the best ways to protect workers from noise hazards. Then head over to www.sctsupply.com and check out our wide variety of hearing protection products from dozens of the top brands in the safety industry.

Need to solve complex noise hazard issues at your workplace? Ensure your safety program is OSHA compliant and contact the experts at SCT today!








captcha

 

 

 

OSHA outlines General Industry Silica Enforcement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has outlined how it will conduct silica enforcement for the General Industry and Maritime standards in a memorandum from Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Galen Blanton.

The launch of silica enforcement for General Industry and Maritime standards takes a similar path as the start of enforcement for the Construction standard.

In the memorandum to OSHA’s Regional Administrators, Blanton wrote, “During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will assist employers that are making good faith efforts to meet the new standard’s requirements. If upon inspection, it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply, compliance officers should conduct air monitoring in accordance with Agency procedures, and consider citations for non-compliance with any applicable sections of the new standard.”

The new provisions for Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for General Industry and Maritime, 29 CFR § 1910.1053, are enforceable on June 23, 2018. Like the Construction standard, 29 CFR § 1926.1153, the standard instituted a new 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, and an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3.

Watch our “Ask The Experts” video on silica!

According to Blanton’s memorandum, “Any proposed citations related to inspections conducted in this 30-day time period will require National office review prior to issuance.”

Silica enforcement has been one of the top questions SCT’s safety experts have received since the new standards were approved back in 2016. SCT has developed a 2-hour refresher training course, and an 8-hour competent person training course on the new silica standards.

The time for compliance is now!

Contact the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out the contact form below!







captcha

 

Top 10 Questions about OSHA Inspections

SCT’s workplace safety experts, especially the staff members who used to work for agency, hear the same questions a lot, and usually they revolve around one topic: OSHA Inspections/Citations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the government agency tasked with ensuring workers are protected on the job. When employers experience an OSHA inspection and citation, safety partners and consultants can help the agency and the affected employer(s) negotiate a settlement.

Combined, Mr. Walters and Mr. Bielema have nearly 50 years of OSHA experience and knowledge. EHS Today was at the ASSP conference and wrote about their presentation covering what to expect with an OSHA inspection/citation.

  1. Why did OSHA pick my company for an inspection?
  2. Can I ask for a copy of the OSHA complaint?
  3. Can I ask OSHA to get a warrant?
  4. What documents am I required to provide to the Compliance Officer?
  5. Can I limit the scope of the inspection?
  6. How does OSHA decide whether or not I get a citation and what the penalty amount will be?
  7. Does OSHA have a quota system?
  8. What are my options after I receive a citation?
  9. Should I schedule an informal conference and what should I expect when I go to the OSHA office?
  10. Can we beat an OSHA citation?

The safety experts at SCT have seen it all when it comes to OSHA inspections and citations. Our goal is to keep companies on the right side of OSHA, with compliant, implemented, and regularly updated safety programs and policies that protect workers.

SCT is here to help with any question about OSHA inspections, citations or safety in general. Contact us today at 1-800-204-1729, or fill out the contact form below!








captcha

 

June is National Safety Month

Each June, the National Safety Council and other organizations recognize National Safety Month. It’s a chance to take extra time and care to prevent injuries on the job, at home, and on the road.

This year’s theme of “No One Gets Hurt” intends to demonstrate that just making small changes, like taking a First Aid class or cleaning up a spill at work, can significantly decrease injury risks.

According to the NSC, preventable deaths – also called accidents – are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.

One American dies from a preventable incident every three minutes.

Each of the four weeks of June focus on a different aspect of safety.

Week 1: Emergency Preparedness

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that businesses have a written Emergency Action Plan. Whether it’s a fire, tornado, active shooter, or any other type of emergency situation, employees should be properly educated and trained on what to do. Evacuation routes and basic First Aid training are great places to start when creating your Emergency Action Plan.

Week 2: Wellness

One of the most common reasons why a worker’s overall wellness declines is a lack of sleep, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Sleep deprivation is linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression, can increase the likelihood of on-the-job injuries, and results in 1.2 million lost work days in the U.S, per NIOSH. 

Week 3: Falls

Fall protection has topped OSHA’s list of most frequently cited violations for years. For fiscal year 2017, the fall protection general requirements standard was violated 6,072 times, almost 2,000 times more than any other standard.

Falls are the leading cause of worker deaths in the construction industry, and the highest number of nonfatal fall injuries take place in the health services and retail industries.

Check out our Focus on Fall Protection video series below for some easy to follow advice about preventing falls at your workplace.

Week 4: Driving

Motor vehicle crashes are the Number 1 cause of work-related deaths in the United States. A few simple steps can drastically decrease your chances of being killed in a car crash.

  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Don’t drive if you are tired.
  • Focus only on driving. A text or phone call can wait!
  • Prepare for potential hazards along your route, including road construction and inclement weather.

 

National Safety Month is the perfect time to create or upgrade your company’s safety program! Contact our team of experts today at 1-800-204-1729 or use the contact form below.








captcha

 

 

OSHA Publishes Rule to Officially Delay Beryllium Compliance Date

As part of a settlement agreement between OSHA and four petitioners last month, the administration has announced a proposed rule to push the compliance date for almost all provisions of the general industry beryllium standard.

Published to the Federal Register on June 1, 2018, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) extended to December 12, 2018, the compliance date for “all processes, operations, or areas where workers may be exposed to materials containing beryllium that fall under the scope of the general industry standard,” according to an OSHA news release.

OSHA stated that the delay will allow the agency to complete further clarifications of the standard and to simplify compliance.

Additionally, OSHA issued a memorandum stating that “ancillary requirements that are affected by this rulemaking will not be enforced until June 25, 2018. Any provisions for which the standard already establishes compliance dates in 2019 (change room and showers) and 2020 (engineering controls) are unaffected by this rulemaking.”

Back on April 24, 2018, OSHA and four petitioners – the National Association of Manufacturers, AirBorn Inc., Materion Brush Inc., and Mead Metals Inc. – signed the agreement to move the compliance date to December 12.

The public can submit comments about this action by clicking here. 

SCT safety experts to present at ASSP National Conference

SCT Vice President Nick Walters and Regional Director Tom Bielema are hosting two sessions at the 2018 ASSP National Conference in San Antonio, Texas, next week!

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), which was previously known as the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) until earlier this year, hosts an annual National Safety Conference bringing together the brightest and most innovative minds in occupational safety and health. SCT is thrilled to have Mr. Walters and Mr. Bielema representing SCT at the conference.

SCT Regional Director Tom Bielema

Mr. Bielema is a former OSHA Area Director of the Peoria, Illinois, office, and was part of the team that researched and crafted OSHA’s new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction, General Industry, and Maritime work environments.

Read more about Tom here.

 

 

 

 

SCT Vice President Nick Walters

Mr. Walters is the former Regional Administrator for OSHA Region V, and spent 25 years with the agency, working his way up from a Compliance Officer to be one of just 10 regional administrators nationwide.

Read more about Nick here.

 

 

 

 

So what will Nick and Tom be talking about in Texas? Here’s their session information.

OSHA Inspections from Opening to Settlement: Tips from Former OSHA Leaders

Monday, June 4, 2018, 3:15pm-4:15pm
Session Number: S563
Location: Hemisfair Ballroom C2

Session Description: Former OSHA leaders will cover how the agency works, its authority and limits, how OSHA inspections are triggered and conducted, citations and the contest/appeal process. In short, this session will provide a soup-to-nuts overview of what you need to know to deal with an OSHA issue when it arises.

Why do SCT’s former OSHA experts think it’s so important?

“OSHA inspections have the potential to impact nearly every employer in the country…The responsibility to report incidents, conduct the necessary investigations, implement corrective measures, and interact with OSHA falls directly on the shoulders of the safety and health professionals and managers at these companies,” Walters said.

“If citations are issued after an OSHA visit, the post inspection process can be confusing. Tom and I have worked through complex settlement negotiations and the litigation process with thousands of companies. This session will provide detailed information about how to navigate that process and provide insight into OSHA’s approach to citation settlement.”

OSHA’s Rapid Response Investigation Process: Tips from Former OSHA Leaders

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 10:30am-11:45am
Session Number: S609
Location: Room 008A/B

Session Description: Since OSHA’s new injury reporting rule took effect, the number of reports has skyrocketed. OSHA’s Rapid Response Investigation process shifts the obligation to document what happened, why it happened, and what should be done to prevent reoccurrence to the employer. Former OSHA leaders will offer tips for preparing effective reports.

Why do SCT’s former OSHA experts think it’s so important?

“Anyone that serves in a safety and health capacity at a company covered by the OSH Act may be called upon to assist in a rapid response investigation and submit a report to OSHA. Therefore, individuals working at the basic to executive experience levels need to be familiar with OSHA’s Rapid Response Investigation process and the pitfalls to avoid,” Walters said.

Too busy for Texas? That’s OK, SCT is just a phone call away!

If scheduling doesn’t allow you to be in San Antonio next week to talk to Nick and Tom directly, you can always reach them at our Chicago and Peoria offices at 708-382-2900, or via email at NWalters@sct.us.com or TBielema@sct.us.com.

Have another safety question? You can contact all the SCT experts by filling out our contact form below!







captcha

 

Being Mindful of Mental Health in the Workplace

As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, it’s important to note how the mental health of employees can impact a workplace.

According to a study published in World Psychiatry, individuals who suffer from mental illness not only struggle with the disease itself, but also the negative stigma that results from misunderstanding mental illnesses. This can lead to employees covering up the fact that they suffer from a mental illness.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Center for Workplace Mental Health states that one in five adults will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, but more than half of those people will go untreated.

So what can a company do to make employees feel safe and ensure they receive the assistance they need?

Numerous mental health awareness groups, including The National Council for Behavioral Health, agree that education is key. Employees and supervisors should be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. In order to create a “stigma-free workplace,” experts recommend the following actions:

  • Educate employees about mental health disorders signs and symptoms
  • Encourage employees to talk about stress, workload, family commitments and other issues
  • Communicate that mental illnesses are real, common and treatable
  • Discourage stigmatizing language, including labels such as “crazy” or “nuts”
  • Invest in mental health benefits
  • Help employees transition back to work after they take leave
  • Consult with your employee assistance program

The Center for Workplace Mental Health website also features the ICU Program, which was donated by DuPont’s Employee Assistance Program. It is specifically designed to reduce the stigma of mental health in the workplace and centers on three core concepts:

I: Identify the signs

C: Connect with the person

U: Understand the way forward together

Enrolling in a Mental Health First Aid class is also an option. This eight-hour course will educate attendees on how to assist someone who suffers from mental illness. Students will learn to identify, understand, and properly respond to the signs of a mental health issue.

In addition to our typical First Aid courses, we at SCT also offer Mental Health First Aid classes. If you are interested in having your staff trained, call us at 1-800-204-1729 or fill out the contact form below.








captcha

 

 

Video Series Rewind: Catch up on the ABCs of Safety

We’re powering through the ABCs of Safety, our video series aimed at breaking down the basics of safety. We wrapped up the Letter M this week. With the long Memorial Day Weekend ahead of us, we figured this was a good point to stop, rewind, and catch up on the safety alphabet so far.

So what are the ABCs of Safety?

  • A is for Analytics
  • B is for Best Practices
  • C is for Competent Person
  • D is for Drug Free
  • E is for Excavation
  • F is for Fall Protection
  • G is for OSHA’s General Duty Clause
  • H is for Hazard Communication
  • I is for Incident Investigation
  • J is for Job Safety Analysis
  • K is for Keeping Workers Safe
  • L is for Ladders
  • M is for Machine Guarding

To find out what letters N through Z will be, you’ll just have to keep an eye on SCT’s YouTube channel!

Check out our YouTube playlist of the ABCs of Safety below, and have a safe and fun Memorial Day Weekend. To all the servicemen and women who have served and those who continue to serve our country, the safety experts at SCT thank you for your service.

SCT’s ABCs of Safety Playlist

NIOSH issues new fentanyl guidance for healthcare workers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued new guidance to help protect healthcare workers from exposure to non-pharmaceutical fentanyl, according to Safety and Health Magazine. 

Fentanyl is an opioid that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. NIOSH reports that exposure can result in symptoms that include the “rapid onset of life-threatening respiratory depression.”

Nurses, physicians, therapists and other workers can be exposed to the drug during patient care. The exposure routes that are of greatest concern include inhalation of powders of aerosols, mucous membrane contact, ingestion, or exposure through a break in the skin.

NIOSH offers a few work practices to protect healthcare workers from dangerous fentanyl exposure:

  • Establish open communication between the hospital and EMS workers to help quickly determine the likelihood of fentanyl exposure
  • When first encountering a patient, healthcare personnel should assess the risk for hazards and determine whether the presence of illicit fentanyl is suspected
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke or use the bathroom in an area with potential fentanyl exposure
  • Do not touch the eyes, mouth or nose after touching a potentially contaminated surface
  • Wash hands or other exposed skin with soap and water immediately after potential exposure. Do not use alcohol based cleaners, as that could increase absorption through the skin

NIOSH also specifies what training healthcare workers need to receive including education about the potential exposure routes, how to recognize potential opioid exposure, when and how to use Personal Protective Equipment, and when and how to decontaminate a patient.

Additionally, NIOSH outlines the necessary PPE that healthcare workers should have:

  • At least an N100, R100, or P100 disposable filtering face piece respirator
  • Face and eye protection that may include goggles or a faceshield
  • Powder-free nitrile gloves
  • Wrist and arm protection that cover the skin

Need to spruce up your company’s safety and health management plan? Contact the experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729 or fill out the short contact form below.








captcha