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!



SCT earns spot on 2017 Weatherhead 100 list

CLEVELAND, OHIO — SCT broke into the top 40 of the fastest growing businesses in Northeast Ohio, earning the 36th spot on the 2017 Weatherhead 100 List, a jump of 35 places from 2016’s 71st position.

The list is an annual recognition of the top 100 fastest growing businesses in Northeast Ohio as compiled by representatives from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Representing SCT at the November 30, 2017, awards presentation was President Gail Grueser and Office Manager/Controller Annette Plavny.

“I am thrilled that the efforts of our dedicated employees have boosted our growth so much,” Ms. Grueser said. “We’ve experienced such growth from just this past year, and it feels wonderful to be recognized as one of the area’s fastest growing companies.”

The Weatherhead 100 is based on revenue from the past five years, 2012-2016, with a minimum of $100,000 in sales in 2012. Winners must also be a for-profit organization that is not a franchise or a subsidiary of another company, and must be headquartered in one of the following counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, or Wayne.

Like the growth in 2016, 2017 has also proved a banner year for SCT. A second physical location was opened in Chicago, Illinois, and satellite offices were established in Boston, Massachusetts; Peoria, Illinois; and Tampa, Florida.

As she said last year, Ms. Grueser added that employers continue to recognize the benefits of having a proactive safety program.

“Employees are a company’s most valuable resource. A successful business should do everything it can to keep them healthy and safe, which will make them more productive.”

DOT drug testing to include synthetic opiods

The Federal Department of Transportation has added four semi-synthetic opioids to its drug testing regimen. As of January 1, 2018, affected employees with five federal agencies will be subjected to the expanded DOT drug testing measures.

Those agencies include the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the U.S. Coast Guard. Read more about the specific employees covered under DOT Testing Regulation 49 CFR Part 40 here.

The four semi-synthetics opioids new to the DOT drug testing panel include: oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone. All are used for moderate to severe pain management or pain relief. Common names for these semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®.

The final rule was published in the November 13th edition of the Federal Register.

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 33,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses in 2015.

“The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said when the final rule was published in November. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”

The occupational health experts at SCT stay current on all updates and expansions when it comes to different regulations from federal, state, and local partners. SCT can meet all your drug testing needs. If you’re located in our home state of Ohio, SCT can help businesses navigate the Ohio BWC application for the Drug Free Safety Program, which can earn companies a 4 or 7 percent rebate on workers’ compensation premiums.

If you’re interested in taking part in the Ohio BWC Drug Free Safety Program, now’s the time to act! All testing, training and reporting is due by the last business day in March 2018. Watch our DFSP video for more information & contact us using the contact form below to get started on your DFSP today!



Electronic Injury Submission Delay Comes Closer

The Office of Management and Budget completed its review of OSHA’s proposed final rule for the compliance date of electronic injury and illness data submission.

In November 2017, OSHA submitted a final rule to extend the compliance date to December 15, 2017. The original compliance date was July 1, 2017. According to Safety and Health Magazine, the last step to enact the change is publication in the Federal Register. 

Employers are already required to record this injury and illness data, but now must submit the date in an online application that will then be publicly available in a standardized format.

OSHA believes that this will encourage employers to improve their workplace safety, while also allowing researchers a way to easily examine data to identify new workplace hazards before they become widespread. Plus, the rule has anti-retaliation protection, which will encourage employees to report workplace hazards.

Many companies, but not all, are required to comply with this standard. Businesses with 250 or more employees must electronically submit information from the OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301. Businesses with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk injuries must submit data from OSHA Form 300A.

Safety and Health Magazine also reported that in a Nov. 15 committee meeting, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta said OSHA is still improving the rule.

“We are balancing the issues of privacy – because it was asking for some information that was very detailed and that identified individuals – with the needs (sic) to get information so that we can engage in appropriate and targeted enforcement,” he said.

The electronic injury submission website has hit a few bumps this year. In August 2017, OSHA shut down the application after a potential security breach. A further scan found that no breach occurred and no user data was compromised. The application was shut down for about two weeks.

To ensure your recordkeeping practices are up to standard, contact our team of OSHA experts today at 1-800-204-1729.

Remembering Road Traffic Victims

On the third Sunday of November, the United Nations recognizes the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

Overall, road traffic is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and is the leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. About 1.25 million people are killed and millions more are injured. About 100 people die each day in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In the world of occupational health and safety, OSHA reported that 1,264 people were killed in “roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles” in 2015. This was a 9 percent increase from the 2014 mark and accounted for more than a quarter of all fatal occupational injuries.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

One of the easiest ways to help prevent motor vehicle deaths is to always buckle up. Seat belts save 14,000 lives in the U.S. each year and cut the risk of death for people riding in cars by 45 percent.

Additionally, an employee cell phone policy can help curb distracted driving, which is estimated to be a factor in about 25-30 percent of all traffic crashes. Check out our blog post from earlier this year for more details about creating a successful employee cell phone policy.

OSHA has provided a guide to get employers started on developing an effective worker driving program:

  1. Senior Management Commitment & Employee Involvement
  2. Written Policies and Procedures
  3. Driver Agreements
  4. Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks
  5. Crash Reporting and Investigation
  6. Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection
  7. Disciplinary Action System
  8. Reward/Incentive Program
  9. Driver Training/Communication
  10. Regulatory Compliance

As winter closes in, safe driving strategies are more important than ever. Make safe driving a priority so that every worker makes it home safely at the end of the day.

For all your occupational safety and health needs, contact SCT at 1-800-204-1729. Businesses who expect the best turn to SCT.

Workplace Injury Rate Falls Again in Private Industries

Continuing a decade long trend, the nonfatal workplace injury and illness rate in private industries fell in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rate of 2.9 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers was .1 cases lower than in 2015. Even with the decline, this still amounted to 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, which was 48,500 fewer than the previous year.  Except for 2012, the injury rate has declined every year since 2004.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Finance and insurance, while having a low rate of injuries and illnesses at .6 cases per 100 FTE workers, was the only industry sector that saw a nonfatal workplace injury rate increase compared to 2015. Construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade all saw “statistically significant” decrease in workplace injuries and illnesses. The rate was unchanged in the 14 other industry sectors.

The BLS looked deeper into the statistics of the manufacturing industry, which saw a decrease in both the total count and incidence rate of injuries that caused the employee to miss days away from work (DAFW). DAFW cases fell by 4 percent in manufacturing to a total of 118,500 in 2016. The incidence rate fell from 99.0 cases per 10,000 FTE workers to 94.9 cases.

Sprains, strains and tears were the most common injury type, accounting for 30 percent of injuries, followed by: cuts, lacerations, and punctures; soreness and pain; and fractures.

In December, the BLS will release the data for fatal injuries.

While the continued downward trend of workplace injuries and illnesses is something to celebrate, we at SCT know we can do better. All workplace injuries are preventable with proper education, training, and policies. By working together, we can reach the ultimate goal of zero workplace injuries.

Contact our team of experts today to ensure your workplace safety program is the best that it can be. Call us at 1-800-204-1729 or use the contact form below.


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.



FedEx Vice President Nominated to Lead OSHA

President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Scott Mugno to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), established by the OSH Act in 1970, is a federal agency tasked with ensuring the safety and health of workers across the United States.

Mugno is currently the Vice President for Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, PA. Previously, he was the Managing Director for FedEx Express Corporate Safety, Health and Fire Protection in Memphis, TN. He has been employed at the company since 1994.

Mugno also twice received the company’s highest honor, the FedEx Five Star Award, for his safety leadership, according to the White House’s statement.

According to EHS Today, Mugno oversees 200 EHS and maintenance employees across four departments who are “focused on creating a safe work environment for 95,000 team members and the public.”

If Mugno’s nomination is approved, he will replace Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt, who has held that position since July 2017.

SCT hires National Director of Risk Management

Chicago, IL – SCT continues to grow its world-class team of safety professionals, and we’re excited to welcome John Tuisl as the National Director of Risk Management Services.

Mr. Tuisl, who holds the ARM (Associate in Risk Management) and CRIS (Construction Risk Insurance Specialist) designations, will spearhead SCT’s risk management services and will assist our OSHA expert witness staff with litigation management, loss investigations, and claims management.

“We are very excited about the addition of John Tuisl to the SCT team. John brings a tremendous amount of experience to the table with over 22 years in the construction risk management and safety and health fields,” said Nick Walters, SCT Vice President of Safety Engineering Services.

“John has built risk management and safety departments from the ground up for heavy civil contractors, construction management, building contractors and project owners. His experience includes a unique blend of executive level leadership for both construction companies and one of the largest insurance brokers in the country.”

Mr. Tuisl began his career as a Combat Engineer in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1989. He then went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology with a minor in safety at Northern Illinois University in 1992.

Starting as a Risk Management Department Safety Engineer, Mr. Tuisl worked his way up the corporate ladder working in the public and private sectors as a Chief Safety Officer, Corporate Risk Manager, Area Executive Vice President, Director of Risk Management, and Vice President of Risk Management and Safety.

Most recently, Mr. Tuisl provided risk management support to construction clients and large project teams as Senior Vice President/Central Region Account Executive Leader at Aon Construction Services Group, which he joined in 2013.

Mr. Tuisl’s areas of expertise include OCIP/CCIP Project Solutions, Claims Resolution, Large Project Risk Management Solutions, Construction Risk Management and Safety, Contracts Evaluation, and Builders Risk and Casualty.
He is also a former 10-hour OSHA Outreach Instructor for the Chicagoland Construction Safety Council.

“We are confident that John’s experience will allow SCT to expand our footprint in the insurance and construction safety staff augmentation areas,” added SCT VP Walters.

New Bill Would Require Safety Review of Federal Contractors

Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives in an effort to make federal contractors more accountable for the safety of their employees.

If the Contractor Accountability and Workplace Safety Act passes into law, the Department of Defense (DoD) must review past labor law violations of contractors that bid on contracts worth $1 million or more. The contracting officers who decide which companies are awarded contracts must check OSHA inspection records of the contractors and subcontractors, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Additionally,  the DoD must train these officers on how to evaluate the safety records. The Government Accountability Office would also review DoD’s procedures to ensure they are being carried out effectively.

This bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), is similar to a bill introduced by Sen. Diane Warren (D-MA) earlier this year.

In March 2017, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which required some federal contractors to disclose any of a set of 14 labor law violations during the past three years, was revoked.

Currently, potential government contractors are reviewed, but the the vetting process focuses more on “business related behavior and not on worker protections,” according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Trying to earn a government contract? Ensure your safety programs reach all standards by contacting the experts at SCT. Call at 1-800-204-1729 or use the contact form below.