Worker deaths decreased slightly in 2017

Total worker deaths decreased in 2017, but fatal falls were at their highest level in decades, according to a new report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In fact, with 887 fatal falls, 2017 represented the highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). This was an increase from the 849 such deaths in 2016 and accounted for 17 percent of all fatal injuries.

There were a total of 5,147 worker deaths in the U.S. in 2017, a slight decrease from the 5,190 in 2016. The fatal injury rate also fell to 3.5 per 100,000 full time equivalent workers (FTE) in 2017, down from 3.6 in 2016.

Although 2017 saw a decrease in worker deaths from 2016, it was still much higher than the number of worker deaths experienced from 2009 to 2015, as seen in the chart below.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

“While today’s report shows a decline in the number of workplace fatalities, the loss of even one worker is too many,” OSHA Acting Assistant Loren Sweatt said in a news release.  “Through comprehensive enforcement and compliance assistance that includes educating job creators about their responsibilities under the law, and providing robust education opportunities to workers, OSHA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the American workforce.”

A few more highlights from this year’s report:

  • Transportation incidents once again were the most common fatal workplace injury, accounting for 2,077 deaths (40 percent).
  • For the fifth straight year, unintentional drug or alcohol overdoses increased by more than 25 percent, accounting for 272 deaths in 2017.
  • With 33 deaths, crane-related fatalities reached their lowest ever level recorded in the CFOI
  • Confined space deaths increased to 166 in 2017 from 144 in 2016, a 15 percent jump
  • “Caught in running equipment or machinery” fatalities decreased 26 percent, from 103 in 2016 to 76 in 2017
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers had the largest number of fatal workplace injuries (987), while fishers and logging workers had the highest fatal injury rates (99.8 per 100,000 FTE workers)
  • 15 percent of fatally injured workers were age 65 or older, a CFOI high for that demographic
  • 27 states had fewer workplace deaths in 2017 than in 2016, while 21 states and the District of Columbia had an increase; California and Maine did not change.
  • Fatal injuries among grounds maintenance workers decreased slightly from 247 to 244, but it was still the second-highest mark since 2003; 36 of the deaths were due to falls from trees
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Safe and Sound Week 2018: How to Succeed

From August 13 through 19, it’s Safe and Sound Week, a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the value of safety and health programs that include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.

Spearheaded by OSHA, Safe and Sound Week encourages any business that cares about the health and safety of its employees to participate.

OSHA has outlined a simple three-step plan to participate in Safe and Sound Week:

  • Select your activities
  • Plan and promote your events
  • Recognize your participation

You should always make time for safety, but if you are in a hurry, check out our video that will help you identify some common hazards during Safe and Sound Week.

Be sure to check out our complete Safety Video Library on our website or on our YouTube Channel. Feel free to use our videos as part of your regular Toolbox Talks!

Ready to take the your safety program to the next level? Contact the OSHA Experts at SCT today!



OSHA releases new Confined Space fact sheet

A confined space is defined in OSHA’s construction standard 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA as meeting the following criteria:

  • The space is large enough for a worker to enter it
  • The space has limited or restricted means of entry or exit
  • The space is not designed for continuous occupancy

Working with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), OSHA has released a new Confined Space FactSheet to answer some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and “clarify some of the standard’s provisions and their application to residential construction work,” according to the document.

One of the major distinctions explained in the new publication is the difference of a confined space and a permit-required confined space. Before beginning a residential homebuilding project, all involved employers “must ensure that a competent person identifies all confined spaces in which one or more employees it directs may work, and identifies each space that is a permit-required confined space.”

Permit-required confined spaces are those that can be immediately dangerous to workers’ lives, and possess the following characteristics:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant
  • Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard

In the “Confined Spaces in Residential Construction” publication, OSHA and NAHB agree that the vast majority of the confined space standard’s requirements “only apply to permit-required confined spaces, and attics, basements, and crawl spaces in a residential home–three common spaces–will not typically trigger these requirements.”

But “vast majority” does not mean “all,” which is why it is important that employers working on residential homebuilding projects understand the standard’s definition, scope, and application so as best to comply with federal regulations and ensure worker safety.

The safety experts at SCT have decades of experience working for OSHA, national utility providers, glass manufacturers, and other industries that frequently encounter the potential for confined spaces. SCT Director of Construction Services Dennis Hobart has more than two decades of safety experience training thousands of employees on trenching and excavation and confined space hazards.

Mr. Hobart is also the principle trainer on SCT’s mobile fall protection and confined space training simulator, a 32-foot vehicle outfitted with all the necessary equipment and materials needed to conduct beneficial hands-on, practical training. Contact Mr. Hobart today by calling SCT at 1-800-204-1729 to discuss scheduling an updated training! Watch the video below for a look inside of our simulator.

Focus on Fall Protection: The Training You Need

This week, we finish up this month’s Focus on Fall Protection video series. If you’ve missed any of the previous installments, check out the playlist on our YouTube channel.

You can have the best fall protection equipment money can buy, but it won’t do any good if the workers using that equipment are not trained on how to properly use it.

In this week’s video, SCT’s Director of Construction Services Dennis Hobart gives a quick tour of our 32-foot Mobile Training Simulator that can come to your worksite to offer state of the art confined space and fall protection training.


Focus on Fall Protection: How to Properly Fit a Harness

We’re back with another installment in our “Focus on Fall Protection” video series, and this time we’re focusing on how to properly fit a harness.

A harness is an essential component of a well functioning personal fall arrest system (PFAS). Watch the video below to find out how a harness should fit on the body and what type of harness is best suited to your industry.

Properly Fit a Harness

At SCT, we take fall protection training seriously. Falls from heights consistently appear on OSHA’s Top 10 citations list year (2017) after year (2016). As with much of our training, our experts like to take a hands-on approach when it comes to learning how to properly fit a harness.

At our Middleburg Heights, Ohio, location we have a permanent fall protection/confined space training structure that students use during our classes. We also have a 32-foot mobile simulator that we use to bring fall protection and confined space training directly to clients. Our mobile unit includes all the gear and training apparatuses to ensure students leave our classes with practical, useful knowledge on how to properly abate a fall hazard.

For all your fall protection training needs, contact the experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.

SCT adds another Confined Space Entrant Class in February

SCT adds another Confined Space Entrant class in response to the positive reaction to previous class additions to the Open Enrollment Schedule.

The new 8-Hour Confined Space Entrant class will be on Thursday, February 16, 2017. The class begins at 8am and concludes at 5pm. The cost for the course is $200. Price includes instruction, student manual, lunch, and certificate of completion.

Register & Pay Online for the February 16, 8-Hour Confined Space Entrant Course

The class is designed to have approximately 4 hours of classroom work with 4 hours of hands-on training and is intended for workers who may have to utilize confined spaces. This class is for workers and does not meet the requirements for entry rescue.

Topics covered in the classroom portion of the course include:

  • OSHA requirements,
  • common problems and mistakes,
  • corrective measures, and
  • best practices.

Areas reviewed in the hands-on portion of the course include:

  • uses of all typical confined space equipment,
  • physical demonstration on training apparatus,
  • discussion of fulfilling roles of Supervisor, Attendant and Entrant, and
  • each student will attempt entries into different confined space scenarios.

Common problems and OSHA citations are discussed during both the classroom and the hands-on sections of the course.

SCT is uniquely poised to offer this training because we have both a mobile simulator and a permanent in-house simulation installation on which to train confined space courses. Check out the specs on our mobile confined space/fall protection training simulator here.

View our full schedule of Open Enrollment Courses here. For additional information or to discuss a customized safety course, contact SCT at 1-800-204-1729.

SCT Adds New Open Enrollment Safety Courses for 2017

**NOTE: This post was updated on Monday, January 30, 2017, to reflect a scheduling change.**

New open enrollment safety courses have been added to SCT’s 2017 calendar! Get ahead in the safety game by signing up for either a Confined Space Entrant course or an OSHA 30 in Construction course.

Check out our newly scheduled open enrollment safety courses below:

SCT’s 8-Hour Confined Space Entrant Course

When: Thursday, February 9, 2017; 8 am – 5pm

Where: Safety Controls Technology, 6993 Pearl Road, Middleburg Heights, OH 44130

What: The 8-hour class is broken into approximately 4-hour classroom with 4 hours of hands-on training and is designed for the workers in confined spaces. This class is for workers and does not meet the requirements for entry rescue. The classroom portion covers the OSHA requirements and typical problems and mistakes made as well as corrective measures. Best practices are also discussed. The hands-on portion of the class uses all of the typical confined space equipment and provides demonstration and discussion with your employees as the users fulfilled the roles of Supervisor, Attendant and Entrant in actual entries into safe confined spaces using the simulator. Attempts are made with each student to perform entries into different confined space scenarios. The scenarios are all based upon non-entry retrievals. Common problems and OSHA citations are discussed during the class and demonstrations.

Cost: $200

Price Includes: Cost of instruction, student manual, lunch, and certificate of completion.

OSHA 30 in Construction

When: Monday, February 27, 2017 – Thursday, March 2, 2017; 8 am – 5 pm each day.

Where: Safety Controls Technology, 6993 Pearl Road, Middleburg Heights, OH 44130

What: The OSHA 30-Hour Construction course is a comprehensive safety program designed for anyone involved in the construction industry. Specifically devised for safety directors, foremen, and field supervisors; the program provides complete information on OSHA compliance issues.

Cost: $375

Price Includes: Cost of instruction, student manual, lunch, and certification of completion.