Crane Operator Final Rule Issued by OSHA

OSHA has released the final rule that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators on Nov. 7, 2018. The final rule also maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate the equipment.

The final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 9, 2018, will require that employers train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate the operators, and then document successful completion of the evaluations. If employers completed evaluations before Dec. 9, 2018, they will not have to reevaluate the operators, but will only have to document that the evaluations occurred.

Crane operators must be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or the type only, and must receive ongoing training for new equipment. The capacity and type distinction revises a 2010 crane operator requirement that certifications must specify the rated lifting capacity of the cranes that the operator is certified on.

While testing organizations are not required to issue certifications distinguished by rated capacities, they are permitted to do so, and employers may accept them or continue to use certifications based on crane type alone.

OSHA estimates that 117,130 crane operators will be impacted by the final rule. The estimated cost to the industry will be $1.481 million for the performance of operator competency evaluations, $62,000 for documenting those evaluations, and $94,000 for any additional training needed for operators, bringing the total annual cost of compliance to $1.637 million.

But at the same time, OSHA does anticipate the rule will save money for employers. Due to fewer operators needing to get an additional certification, OSHA expects a “large one-time cost savings” of more than $25 million. An additional annual saving of $426,000 is also expected as certifications for operators moving to a higher capacity would no longer be needed.

Additionally, because most employers are already complying with many of the training and evaluation requirements, OSHA concluded that, on average, the impact of costs on employers will be low.

Most portions of the crane operator final rule will become effective on Dec. 10, 2018. Evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on Feb. 7, 2019.

OSHA’s Most Cited Violations of 2018

The annual National Safety Council Congress & Expo is being held this week, and with it comes the annual release of OSHA’s most cited violations for fiscal year 2018.

For the eighth straight year, fall protection –general requirements (1926.501) is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard, according to Safety and Health Magazine. 

The rest of the top five – hazard communication (1910.1200), scaffolding (1926.451), respiratory protection (1910.134), lockout/tagout (1910.147) – remain unchanged from last year, per OSHA’s preliminary figures.

Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) broke into the top 10 this year, while Electrical Wiring Methods (1910.305) fell out of the list.

In a press release, National Safety Council President Deborah A.P. Hersman said, “Knowing how workers are hurt can go a long way toward keeping them safe. The OSHA Top 10 list calls out areas that require increased vigilance to ensure everyone goes home safely each day.”

View the full list of OSHA’s most cited violations for 2018 below, and click here to view 2017’s most cited violations. 

Violation

Number of Citations

1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501)     

7,270

2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)

4,552

3. Scaffolding (1926.451)              

3,336

4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)     

3,118

5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)    

2,944

6. Ladders (1926.1053) 

2,812

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)

2,294

8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503)             

1,982

9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) 

1,972

10. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)          

1,536

 

To avoid these costly OSHA violations, be sure to contact the workplace safety experts at SCT for your free, no obligation consultation.








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OSHA Launches Site-Specific Targeting Using Electronic Data

Using electronically submitted employer data from 2016, OSHA has launched the Site-Specific Targeting 2016 Program that will target high-injury rate businesses for inspections.

Before 2014, Site-Specific Targeting programs used data collected from the OSHA Data Initiative.

Under the program, OSHA will perform inspections of employers who it believes should have electronically submitted 300A injury and illness data, but did not. For 2016, employers who met certain criteria had to submit the data through an online portal by Dec. 15, 2017. For 2017, the deadline was July 1, 2018.

From now on, businesses with 250 or more employees that must currently keep OSHA injury and illness records, along with businesses in certain -high-risk industries with 20-249 employers, must submit this data each year by March 2.

According to OSHA’s official notice, which was released on October 16, 2018, the program “helps OSHA achieve its goal of ensuring that employers provide safe and healthful workplaces by directing enforcement resources to those workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.”

The notice also lays out how OSHA will choose the organizations that are inspected.

  • High Rate Establishments
    • Businesses that have higher Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate
  • Low Rate Establishments
    • To verify data accuracy, a random sample of low DART rate establishments will be included
  • Non-responders
    • A random sample of companies that did not submit required data will also be inspected, which is intended to “discourage employers from not reporting injury and illness information in order to avoid an inspection”

The notice will remain in effect for one year from the release date unless replaced by another notice.

OSHA, NIOSH Budgets Officially Increased

OSHA will enjoy a $5 million budget increase next year after legislators and President Donald Trump recently approved an appropriations bill.

OSHA will receive about $557.8 million in fiscal year 2019, according to Safety and Health Magazine. Last year, the administration received about $552.8 million.

OSHA-Approved State Plans will receive a maximum of $102.4 million, an increase of $1.5 million. State Plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs operated by individual states rather than federal OSHA. They must be at least as effective as the federal OSHA program. More than 20 states or territories operate State Plans.

OSHA’s enforcement budget increased by $1 million to $209 million total, and Voluntary Protection Programs will receive at least $3.5 million. Overall, $73.5 million was set aside for federal compliance assistance, which marks a $3.5 million increase.

The Susan Harwood Training Grants Program, which has almost been eliminated in recent years, will receive $10.5 million in FY2019.

NIOSH – the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – saw its budget increase $1.1 million to $336.3 million.

NIOSH will receive $336.3 million – a $1.1 million increase from FY 2018

In addition to the Department of Labor, the appropriations bill also included funding approval for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Trenching and Excavation: OSHA Updates Emphasis Program

In response to a sharp increase in trenching and excavation worker deaths, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its National Emphasis Program on the topic.

The updated program, which began on October 1, 2018, features two major changes as highlighted by OSHA. It provides a national reporting system for all OSHA trenching and excavation inspections, and it establishes the requirement for each OSHA Area Office or Region to develop outreach programs supporting the emphasis program.

Per OSHA, the outreach “should include providing compliance assistance material to excavation employers, permitting and other municipal organizations, industry associations, equipment rental organizations, water works supply companies and major/local plumbing companies.”

Between 2011 and 2016, there were 130 recorded trenching and excavation fatalities, with 104 in the private construction industry. Of those fatalities, 49 percent occurred in 2015 and 2016. The National Emphasis Program is part of OSHA’s effort to curb this alarming trend.

In a news release, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said it is critical to help workers identify trenching hazards. “OSHA will concentrate the full force of enforcement and compliance assistance resources to help ensure that employers are addressing these serious hazards.”

The emphasis program starts with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach, where OSHA will respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations and fatalities. After this three-month period, enforcement will begin and remain in effect until cancelled.

SCT’s team of trenching and excavation experts can guide you through all aspects of OSHA’s standards.  Our in-house experts boast decades of experience working with every type of companies, from small local businesses to large corporations and municipalities. Whether through on-site audits, engineering design, or customized employee training, SCT has you covered.

Call today at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below for your free, no obligation consultation.








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SCT trench safety training

OSHA Releases new Trench Safety Training Video

SCT trench safety training

 

Excavation work is one of the most hazardous construction operations to perform. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that trenching and excavation hazards in construction activities cause 50 fatalities per year, on average.

The hazards associated with trench work are typically both recognizable and preventable, so education and awareness are critical to understanding safe excavation practices.

What’s more, excavation and trenching are consistently at the top of OSHA willful violation list.  With this in mind, OSHA has just released a new public service video providing a quick, minute-long overview of “5 Things You Should Know to Stay Safe” when working with trenches.

OSHA’s 5 key trench safety training takeaways are:

  1. Ensure safe entry and exit
  2. Trenches must have cave-in protection
  3. Keep materials away from the edge of the trench
  4. Look for standing water or other hazards
  5. Never enter a trench unless it has been inspected

The OSHA trench safety training video is a supplement to existing posted general trenching excavation rules.  OSHA’s General Trenching and Excavation Rules are:

  • Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges.
  • Inspect trenches at the start of each shift.
  • Inspect trenches following a rainstorm.
  • Keep surcharge loads at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) from trench edges.
  • Know where underground utilities are located.
  • Do not work under raised loads.
  • Test for low oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gases.

At SCT, we’re experts in trenching and excavation safety, boasting some of the most experienced trench safety training professionals in the nation. Please contact us for any questions you have regarding excavation and trenching safety training and best practices.








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OSHA heat standard would strengthen guidelines

The Department of Labor is being asked to consider establishing an OSHA heat protection standard for U.S. workers. The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen is petitioning OSHA on behalf of several organizations and individuals, including former OSHA officials and medical professionals.

The meat of the OSHA heat protection standard concerns setting mandatory break requirements at predetermined heat thresholds, and it includes provisions for access to shade and PPE (link) such as breathable fabrics and cooling vests.

Other OSHA heat standard suggestions include:

  • Heat exposure monitoring
  • Heat acclimation plans
  • Medical monitoring for heat exposure
  • Signage alerting workers to heat stress dangers
  • Instructor-led worker training
  • Better record keeping for heat-related injuries and deaths
  • And, protection for whistleblowers alerting authorities to unsafe conditions.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 783 heat-related deaths and more than 69,000 heat-related injuries in the U.S. between 1992 and 2016.

There is no current OSHA heat standard: the General Duty Clause requires a workplace “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.”  OSHA does offer guidelines on preventing workers from suffering heat stroke and other related illnesses.

Heat safety is of critical concern at SCT, where we have jobsites dotting the nation – including several in warmer parts of the country.  At our jobsites in California, where we help tear down and rebuild glass furnaces, for example, heat-related injuries are always top of mind. SCT put together a short educational video to highlight some ways to work safely when the mercury rises. Our YouTube Channel features dozens of useful, high-quality safety videos that will keep your employees engaged and help them stay safe.

Don’t sweat about your workplace safety plan. Contact the OSHA Experts today. Fill out the contact form below and put decades of safety experience on your side.








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national preparedness month

National Preparedness Month: OSHA Planning Resources

Weather-wise, September is a tough month. Hurricanes are battering our shores in the peak of the season; meanwhile, wildfires continue to blaze in some Western parts of the U.S. This is an ideal season for National Preparedness Month, launched to raise workplace safety awareness regarding natural disasters.

 

national preparedness month

 

OSHA designated September as National Preparedness Month, a time dedicated to keeping workers safe from natural disasters. The key to surviving extreme weather events with the best possible outcome is to prepare.

OSHA has made preparation for extreme weather easier, with a webpage offering information on protecting your workforce both before and after an extreme weather event such as a hurricane, flood, tornado or severe winter weather.

PPE for emergencies

One often-overlooked aspect of emergency preparedness is the related PPE (personal protective equipment) a business or organization will need on hand. If you wait until an event is approaching (say a hurricane), you may face PPE shortages.  And if you’re dealing with an event already underway, it’s probably too late to get your hands on the gear you need.

When conducting safety and health training and audits, be sure to keep in mind the necessary PPE that accompanies the plan you’ve put into place. OSHA has a great webpage offering direction for assembling the PPE you need, in the event of an emergency such as an extreme weather event.

The good people at OSHA, and the staff here at SCT, urge businesses and organizations to take some time this month to review the plans you’ve put into place.  If you’d like some help or guidance, reach out to OSHA or give us a call.  We’ll review your plans, including your PPE needs, so you can rest easier knowing your workforce is ready for the next big weather event.

winter storm preparedness

 

OSHA silica standard

OSHA Releases New Silica Standard FAQ

The recent release of the new OSHA silica standard brought forth a slew of questions from construction industry professionals, so OSHA has stepped up and answered with a new silica FAQ. This online silica FAQ includes training videos for the respirable crystalline silica construction standard.

OSHA developed the new FAQs in cooperation with industry and labor organizations, so workers have some additional clarity regarding the OSHA silica standard’s requirements. OSHA also introduced six new videos helping users control silica exposure when engaging in common construction tasks. Viewers can get a quick primer on handheld power saws, drills, grinders and jackhammer use and the related silica exposure.

Check out SCT’s respirable crystalline silica dust page for more information regarding silica safety best practices – or to schedule your silica safety training.

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!








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