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!







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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!








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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!







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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.








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Lyme disease, other pest-born diseases increase in Ohio & nationwide

Outdoor workers should always follow proper safety practices to avoid insect bites, but even more so as disease cases have increased rapidly during the last decade.

In Ohio, SCT’s home state, Lyme Disease cases increased from 45 human cases in 2008 to 270 cases in 2017, according to a Cleveland.com report. Lyme Disease, which can be spread by blacklegged ticks, causes muscle stiffness, extreme fatigue and joint pain.

An additional report from the Centers from Disease Control found that Ohio reported 1,358 disease cases from ticks from 2004 to 2016. Nationwide, diseases from  mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled in the past 13 years, with more than 96,000 cases in 2016.

Source: CDC

If you find a tick that is attached to your skin, it’s important to remove it as quickly as possible to limit the chance for disease to transmit.

The CDC gives a quick set of instructions for how to quickly remove a tick.

  • Use tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist the tick, which can cause the mouth of the insect to break off and remain attached to the skin.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed container, or flushing it down the toilet.

As the weather improves and more workers head outdoors, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards that workers can face. Whether it’s wildlife, extreme heat, or severe weather, our Outdoor Working Hazards video series is a great resource. Feel free to use the video playlist below as part of a Toolbox Talk or training session.

Beryllium OSHA compliance date pushed yet again

The OSHA compliance date for the agency’s general industry beryllium standard has been pushed until December 12, 2018, as a provision of a settlement agreement between OSHA and groups with concerns about certain ancillary provisions in the final rule.

OSHA and the four petitioners — the National Association of Manufacturers, AirBorn Inc., Materion Brush Inc., and Mead Metals Inc. — signed the agreement on April 24, 2018, according to a report from Safety & Health Magazine.

On May 4, 2018, OSHA announced a direct final rule that revised a few parts of the rule. Specifically, it clarified the definitions of Beryllium Work Area, emergency, dermal contact, and beryllium contamination, as well as provisions for disposal and recycling, according to an OSHA news release. 

The new OSHA compliance date of December 12, 2018, is in place for all but two provisions in the rule: change rooms/showers and engineering controls. Those provisions have compliance dates of March 11, 2019, and March 10, 2020, respectively.

OSHA’s beryllium final rule was first published on January 9, 2017, and went into effect May 20, 2017. Enforcement of the standards was most recently slated to begin on March 12, 2018, after being pushed back from March 2018.

According to OSHA’s estimates, about 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium. The updated regulations included in the final rule is projected to save 90 people from beryllium-related disease, and prevent 46 new cases of chronic beryllium disease each year.

Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in electronics and the defense industry, among others. Overexposure can cause serious health risks, including incurable chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer.

OSHA offers free resources for National Safety Stand Down

Two weeks ago we told you about the National Safety Stand Down happening May 7-11, 2018, and gave you a few links to our fall protection related videos for some Tool Box Talk inspiration. This week we’re bringing you some free OSHA resources that dropped online for employers to use while hosting their own stand down events.

The purpose of the National Safety Stand Down initiative is to reduce the occurrences of falls in the construction industry. Falls from elevation are one of the Fatal Four, which are the top causes of death among construction workers. The Fatal Four include: falls, caught in/between, struck by object, and electrocution.

According to OSHA, eliminating the fatal four would save 631 workers’ lives each year. From the most recent data available (calendar year 2016), the Fatal Four break down looks like this:

  • Falls – 384 out of 991 total deaths in construction (38.7%)
  • Struck by Object – 93 deaths (9.4%)
  • Electrocutions – 82 deaths (8.3%)
  • Caught in/between – 72 deaths (7.3%)

OSHA and other health agencies, like NIOSH, have developed resources for employers to use while hosting their own National Safety Stand Down events at their job sites. Resources featured on the official website include guidance on ladder safety and scaffolding, as well as Tool Box Talk ideas and videos. Many of the resources provided by OSHA are available in both English and Spanish.

 

SCT offers 6-Part Medical Evaluation

With the expansion of our Occupational Health Department’s services to include blood draws, SCT is excited to announce that we are providing a 6-part medical evaluation that is specifically designed for workers exposed to hazards within the industrial painting industry.

The 6-part service, which we formally call the 6-Part Painter’s Medical Evaluation, provides the comprehensive medical testing for workers who are expected to be exposed to hazards involved on industrial painting job sites. The tests included in the medical evaluation provide the OSHA-required baseline for workers and employers to guard against any elevated exposure on a job site.

Features of SCT’s 6-part medical evaluation include:

  1. Respiratory Medical Clearance Questionnaire and Review
  2. Spirometry (Pulmonary Function Test)
  3. Audiogram Evaluation & Snellen Vision Test
  4. Lead Level & Zinc Protoporphyrin (ZPP) Blood Draws
  5. Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential Blood Draw
  6. Urine Dip Test

The cost for the evaluation is $195 per person.

Let SCT come to you!

SCT has a full suite of mobile occupational health services. Using our state of the art mobile testing unit, we can arrive on your job site, perform all necessary testing, and fit into your schedule.

Contact us today using the contact form below, or talk to Cost Reduction Specialist Terri Cantrell directly at TCantrell@sct.us.com or 440-449-6000.








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Protecting America’s Workers Act reintroduced in Senate

The Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAW Act) has been resuscitated by six senators in an attempt to update 1970’s Occupational Safety and Health Act by broadening its coverage.

The PAW Act has had a protracted life in Congress. Since its introduction in April 2004 by the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), it has been introduced 15 times with none of the bills making it beyond the committee stage, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Introduced March 22, the latest iteration’s abstract (S. 2621) on www.congress.gov defines its purpose as “A bill to amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to expand coverage under the Act, to increase protections for whistleblowers, to increase penalties for high gravity violations, to adjust penalties for inflation, to provide rights for victims or their family members, and for other purposes.”

The bill was introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

“We need to provide greater protections for workers and their families so no one gets hurt. Everyone should be able to go to work knowing they will come home at the end of the day in the same condition and without experiencing any threat to their health and safety,” said Senator Baldwin in a press release. “It is unacceptable that workers face unsafe working conditions or risk losing their job if they file a complaint. This legislation will improve the rights of employees, foster the safety of their workplaces and hold accountable the bad actors who break the law and do harm to American workers.”

As the law currently stands, an employer faces a risk of being charged with, at most, a misdemeanor “when a willful violation of OSHA leads to a worker’s death,” according to the same press release. The most recent version of the PAW Act aims to authorize felony penalties against “employers who knowingly commit OSHA violations that result in death or serious bodily injury…”

The new version of the bill also seeks to update the current civil penalties in OSHA cases, and sets a minimum penalty of $50,000 for a worker’s death caused by a willful violation.

Co-sponsors of the newest Protecting America’s Workers Act include Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).