OSHA’s Electronic Reporting Deadline Looms

The extended deadline for affected employers for OSHA’s electronic reporting system is coming up on Friday, December 15, 2017.

Who needs to electronically report?

Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and business with 20 to 249 employees in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. Keep in mind that certain states have OSHA-approved State Plans that have not, as of yet, adopted the requirement to submit electronic OSHA injury and illness reports. Businesses in these states — California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming — are not currently required to submit electronic data to OSHA through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA).

What is the ITA’s purpose?

The ITA’s intent is to improve the overall tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses, and provide better recordkeeping management to affected establishments. According to a press release, OSHA is currently reviewing other provisions of the new final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, and will published proposed reconsiderations or revisions to portions of its rule in 2018.

Check out our video OSHA’s Electronic Reporting and what it means for your business:

For all your occupational safety and health needs contact the experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729 or email us using the contact form below!








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Crane Operator Certification Compliance Required by November 2018

Construction employers now officially have one more year to comply with a crane operator certification requirement.

A few months back, we wrote about the rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when it was proposed in early September 2017. OSHA accepted public comment on the proposal throughout the month.

With the new final rule now in effect, employers must comply with the certification requirement by November 10, 2018. Originally, this deadline was scheduled for November 2017.

According to OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks Rule, there are four options for crane operator certification:

  • Certification by an independent testing organization accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization
  • Qualification by an employer’s independently audited program
  • Qualification by the U.S. military
  • Compliance with qualifying state or local licensing requirements

In 2015, cranes were listed as the primary or secondary source in 44 fatal worker injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Cranes and Derricks final rule was issued in August 2010, and then, in response to stakeholder concerns, the separate certification rule was published in September 2014.

OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) recommended delaying enforcement of the certification requirement and extending the employer assessment responsibilities for the same period, according to an OSHA news release.

 The week of January 22, 2018, SCT will host a multi-day crane operator certification course at our office in Middleburg Heights, OH. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot as soon as possible. Contact us at 1-800-204-1729 or use the contact form below.








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How Your Beard Impacts Respiratory Protection

Source: NIOSH

As the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes, during November many people participate in campaigns to raise money for various causes by growing out their facial hair. But if your job requires a tight fitting respirator, many different facial hair styles are a no-go.

The graphic above (produced by NIOSH) highlights dozens of facial hair styles and if they would interfere with a proper respirator seal. A respirator needs to seal tightly against the face, or else harmful gases, vapors, or particles can enter the lungs.

According to NIOSH, some studies have shown that even a day or two of stubble can reduce the protection that a respirator provides. Facial hair under the seal can cause causes 20 to 1000 times more leakage compared to clean-shaven individuals.

But this graphic should only be used as a guide. A respiratory fit test needs to be performed to ensure that a respirator fits a worker properly. Our team of experts here at SCT conduct hundreds of fit tests each year to help keep our clients safe on the job.

Respiratory protection has received a renewed focus in workplace safety with the updated silica standard in construction going into effect in September 2017. Check out our video below to learn a bit more about silica protection and what to expect from a respiratory fit test.

Need a respiratory fit test for you or your employees? Call us at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.








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Electrocutions Decrease in Construction Industry

New research published by the Center for Construction Research and Training (formerly known as the Center for Protecting Workers’ Rights and still uses the acronym CPWR) highlights the danger that electrocution poses to the construction industry.

Electrocutions are one of construction’s so-called Fatal Four, along with falls, struck by object, and caught in/between. If you want to learn more about these hazards, check out our video series below.

First, the good news: between 2003 and 2015, electrocution deaths in construction decreased by 39%, and overall construction fatalities fell 16%.

The bad news? Eighty-two construction workers were still electrocuted in 2015, which accounted for 61% of all work-related electrocution deaths in the U.S. This was more than the electrocutions deaths in all other industries combined.

Plus, the number of workers killed by electrocution has increased every year since 2012. While the rate of electrocutions decreased significantly from 2003 to 2015, the 0.8 electrocutions per 100,000 full time equivalent workers in 2015 was actually a 9% increase from 2014.

From 2011-2015 , the most common primary source of electrocution was, predictably, electrical parts, which include power lines, transformers, electrical wiring, extension cords, switches, and fuses. Ladders and hand tools were next on the list, acting as the primary source in electrocution deaths in 29 and 28 cases, respectively.

The CPWR document also features a lengthy table with solutions for various electrical  hazards, including using engineering controls such as surge protectors or non-conductive ladders, proper PPE like rubber gloves, or safety measures like regular tool inspection.

The best way to ensure that all of those safety solutions are as effective as possible is to properly train all employees. At SCT, our team of OSHA experts can review your company’s safety policies and update anything that needs to be improved. Then we’ll handle all of your training needs. We can host you at our facilities in Middleburg Heights, OH, or Hillside, IL, or we can travel directly to your workplace.

Contact us today at 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out the contact form below.








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Silica Enforcement Is Here

October 23, 2017, marks the end of the 30 days of compliance assistance offered to employers taking good faith efforts to follow OSHA’s new construction silica standard. On October 19, Thomas Galassi, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), issued an Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard.

“Effective October 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard’s companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field,” according to the announcement.

The interim guidance was released to all OSHA regional administrators, as well as to the public. It includes detailed outlines related to inspection guidance and citation guidance. From the documents, areas of high priority include:

  • Following Table 1 parameters
  • Exposure Assessment Options, both Performance and Scheduled Monitoring
  • Methods of Compliance
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Housekeeping Practices
  • Written Exposure Control Plan
  • Medical Surveillance
  • Communication of Hazards

SCT offers updated training classes and program assistance to help transition companies into compliance with the new OSHA standard. Check out our specialized Silica webpage here.

We’ve done numerous videos on the new silica standard and what employers need to do to be in compliance. Check out our latest silica video below!

Want more information? Call us today at 1-800-204-1729 to discuss your silica compliance plans.

OSHA Looking to Postpone Crane Operator Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants to extend the deadline for crane operator certification that is scheduled to go into effect in November of this year.

In Sept. 2014, OSHA issued a final rule that set the crane operator requirement deadline for November 2017. OSHA’s new proposed rule would push back the deadline to Nov. 10, 2018. According to OSHA’s press release, the additional time is to “address stakeholder concerns.”

OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard lays out four options for crane operators to become certified:

  • Certification by an independent testing organization accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization
  • Qualification by an employer’s independently audited program
  • Qualification by the U.S. military
  • Compliance with qualifying state or local licensing requirements

Those wanting to comment on the deadline delay can do so online at http://www.regulations.gov , by fax to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693–1648, or by mail to OSHA Docket Office, RIN No. 1218–AC86, Technical Data Center, Room N–3508, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20210.

Comments must be submitted by Sept. 29, 2017.

For all of your occupational safety and health needs, contact the experts at SCT by calling 1-800-204-1729.

Ask the Experts: Scaffolding

Last year, scaffolding was the third most cited violation by OSHA behind only fall protection and hazard communication. Companies across the United States were cited nearly 4,000 times for scaffolding violations.

As scaffolding lifts workers to an elevated worksite, taking proper safety precautions is extremely important. OSHA estimates that proper training and following of compliance standards could save as many as 50 lives and prevent 4,500 accidents every year.

In this edition of our Ask the Experts video series, SCT Regional Director Tom Bielema, who spent years with OSHA eventually becoming the Area Director of the Peoria Office, discusses how to handle common hazards that come along with using scaffolding.

To catch up on our previous Ask the Experts videos, check out the playlist on YouTube here. As always, contact SCT today for all of your occupational safety and health needs.

Fatal Four in Construction: Falls

This week we’re wrapping up our look at the Fatal Four in Construction with a new video about falls.

According to OSHA, falls accounted for 364 deaths in construction in 2015, which was more than all of the other Fatal Four (electrocutions, struck by object, and caught in between) combined.

In the video below, SCT Vice President of Safety Engineering Services Nick Walters covers many of the common hazards that can result in falls, including ladders and unguarded floor openings.

If you missed Mr. Walters, former Regional Administrator of OSHA’s largest region based in Chicago, in our previous videos covering electrocutions and struck by/caught in between, you can watch all of our Fatal Four videos right here.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss a video from us.

Fatal Four in Construction: Struck By and Caught In/Between

Continuing our quest to eliminate the Fatal Four hazards in the construction industry, we have a new video covering struck by and caught in/between hazards.

According to OSHA, in 2015 struck by and caught in/between hazards accounted for 9.6% and 8.6%, respectively, of all fatal construction incidents.

SCT Vice President of Safety Engineering Services Nick Walters covered Electrocutions last week. Today Mr. Walters, formerly the Regional Administrator of OSHA Region V, tackles two related hazards in struck by and caught in/between.

Check out our video below and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss a video from us.

 

Video Series Tackles Construction’s Fatal Four

The Fatal Four in Construction – falls, struck by, caught in/between, and electrocutions – account for more than half of all worker deaths in the industry. At SCT, we want to do our part to protect as many workers as possible from preventable injury and death.

Throughout this month, we will release videos on each of those topics, presented by our own Vice President of Safety Engineering Services Nick Walters, who was formerly the Regional Administrator of OSHA Region V.

Check out the video above to learn about some common electrocution hazards found at many construction sites. Be sure to Like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you never miss a safety video from our team of experts.