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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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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DOL, OSHA Release Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda, which provides a basic roadmap of potential OSHA developments.

The agenda lists 20 potential rules separated into three stages: pre-rule, proposed rule, and final rule. Those in the pre-rule stage are the furthest away from completion and those in the final rule stage are the closest.

Four proposals in the final rule stage include:

  • Standards Improvement Project IV. This would remove or revise “duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent safety and health standards” to ease the burden on employers, with most of the revisions to come in construction standards.
  • Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol. OSHA will evaluate three new possible fit-testing protocols to determine if they should be added to the rule as approved testing methods.
  • Rules of Agency Practice and Procedure Concerning OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records. The administration is seeking to revise its internal procedures for OSHA personnel when they obtain and use personally identifiable medical information.
  • Technical Corrections to 36 OSHA Standards and Regulations. OSHA is correcting inaccurate graphics and typos in three dozen standards in 29 CFR 1904, 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918 and 1926.

According to Safety and Health Magazine, four other standards that were previously considered “long term action” also moved onto this edition of the agenda. Emergency Response and Preparedness, Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance, and Tree Care standards are in pre-rule stage. An update to the Hazard Communication Standard is in the proposed rule stage.

With the recent delay of the beryllium standard, that regulation moved from the final rule stage back into the proposed stage. The Crane Operator Qualification in Construction standard also moved backward to the proposed stage.

The complete regulatory agenda, which also contains schedules for dozens of other government agencies, can be viewed by clicking here.