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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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!








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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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Fire Safety at Work

As the temperatures drop, many office workers bring out the sweaters and personal space heaters to ward off the chill. According to a report from the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties every year.

The Statistics

The report, “U.S. Structure Fires in Offices Properties,” draws its conclusions from evaluating a five-year period (2007-2011). The fires during this time caused an annual average of four civilian deaths, 44 civilian fire injuries, and $112 million in direct property damage. The number of fires, while still large, is a clear reduction from office fires reported in 1980, which was 10,570. In 2011, there were 3,050 structure fires, a reduction of 71 percent in the 31-year span.

More than a quarter of office fires (29 percent) were caused by cooking equipment, though these fires accounted for only six percent of direct property damage. Intentionally set fires caused the highest share of property damage at 20 percent, but only account for 10 percent of all office fires.

If present, sprinklers operated 90 percent of the time for fires big enough to activate the sprinkler systems, and the sprinklers were effective for 88 percent of those fires. The rate of fatalities per 1,000 fires was 62 percent lower in offices and stores equipped with sprinklers compared to buildings with no such equipment, according to the report.

How to Prevent Office Fires

SafetyCenter.org has 12 tips to help business create a fire-safe workplace. Safety Center is a non-profit organization founded in 1934 with the mission “to reduce injuries and save lives by empowering our community to make positive life changing decisions. We accomplish this mission by promoting lifelong safety and health through a variety of community and professional programs.”

The 12 safety tips follow common sense fire safety procedures and align with similar recommendations from OSHA and NFPA. Highlights include:

  • Practicing good housekeeping and removing accumulations of material that could fuel a fire or prevent access to exits and emergency equipment.
  • Having and maintaining appropriate fire extinguishers, AND having staff trained on how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Working sprinkler systems and smoke detectors that are regularly maintained and tested.

Possible Solution: Emergency Action Plans!

Many workplaces benefit from Emergency Action Plans, or EAPs. They are designed to assist workers facing emergencies at the office/worksite. Well implemented EAPs include training for all employees, and should identify workers who are designated with specific tasks in case of an emergency. For example, in case of a fire, an EAP will identify who should call 9-1-1, who should lead building evacuation efforts, and who has the responsibility and capability of using a fire extinguisher.

We talked about EAPs in one of our Small Business Corner videos last year. Check it out below!

Want help creating an EAP for your company? Give the safety experts at SCT a call at 1-800-204-1729 or contact us via the 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.

6 Components of a Drug-Free Workplace (Infographic)

We’re wrapping up our focus on the benefits of a drug-free workplace with a look at the 6 major components of a successful program. This spotlight on drug free programs aligns with National Drug-Free Work Week, an annual event that raises awareness about the importance of drug-free work environments.

National Drug-Free Work Week is sponsored by the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance.

Want help creating a drug-free workplace program and policy for your workplace? Contact the Occupational Safety & Health experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729!

Hidden Economics of Drugs in the Workplace (Infographic)

Though the health effects of drugs are devastating, the economic impact of drugs can also prove harmful.

Setting aside the emotional and physical tolls that drugs have on a user, the abuse of drugs–both legal and illicit–have serious financial repercussions in business. Costs associated with drugs–usually related to crime, loss of productivity, absenteeism, and health care–account for about $700 billion annually, according to results from the National Survey on Drug Use & Health.

We’ve created an infographic that highlights the overall costs of substance abuse in the workplace, breaking it down into costs associated with alcohol ($224 billion/year), tobacco ($295 billion/year), and illicit drugs ($193 billion/year).

Additionally, the infographic depicts the industries that see the highest rates of substance use and abuse, including general construction, mining, general manufacturing, transportation and warehouses, and hospitality and food service.

Check out the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance website for more information and statistics regarding the impact of drugs in the workplace.

To talk to an Occupational Safety and Health expert about crafting a Drug Free Program or Policy for your workplace, contact SCT at 1-800-204-1729, or contact us via the electronic form below.








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Ohio BWC Drug Free Safety Program Offers Premium Rebates

If your company is located in Ohio, the state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has a program that could both save you money and help you decrease workplace accidents.

Watch our video above to learn all you need to know about the Ohio BWC Drug Free Safety Program, which offers a four to seven percent discount on workers’ compensation premiums.

At SCT, we can guide you through all the requirements, deadlines, and paperwork to make the process as easy as possible. Our Occupational Health experts, led by SCT President Gail Grueser, guide dozens of companies through the program each year and teach you and your employees the skills to keep your DFSP running smoothly for years to come.

Don’t hesitate: the March 30th deadline for private employers will be here before you know it. Contact SCT today online or give us a call at 440-449-6000.

OSHA construction silica enforcement is SATURDAY!

Heads up construction companies, OSHA’s silica enforcement starts on Saturday, September 23, 2017!

SCT’s staff of occupational safety and health experts has the training and skills to help your company transition into this new standard.

During his time working for OSHA, Mr. Bielema helped develop the new silica standard. Mr. Bielema’s most recent position with OSHA was as Area Director for the Peoria, IL, office. The new rule went into effect in June 2016, but the enforcement date was delayed to allow for companies to align their programs and policies with the new standard and conduct necessary updated training.

Mr. Bielema has developed a brand new training course for SCT that will bring you and your employees up to speed on the new regulations. Watch our conversation with Mr. Bielema to find out more details about who is impacted by the new rule, what you need to do to become OSHA compliant, and how to best protect your employees.

Need to update your silica training? Call the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729, or contact us through our online contact page!

SCT hires EHS executive to grow domestic, international presence

Middleburg Heights, Ohio – After expanding its Midwest presence with a Chicago office earlier this year, Safety Controls Technology, Inc. (SCT) is branching out to the East Coast.

SCT is proud to welcome James Joyce as Senior Vice President of Global EHS Services. He will be based out of Boston, Massachusetts, but will be enhancing SCT’s services both domestically and internationally. Mr. Joyce will add his unique and dynamic skill set to SCT’s already strong leadership team to assist in business planning, training and developing the skills of SCT employees.

“Jim adds a global, corporate perspective to our company that we really need with our business expansions,” said Rob Medlock, SCT Senior Vice President of General Industry. “We are all looking forward to benefitting from his knowledge and ability to interact with business at any level.”

Mr. Joyce brings decades of occupational and environmental health experience to the team at SCT, including years leading Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) teams for multi-billion dollar businesses.

“I view this as a new, different, and exciting challenge,” Mr. Joyce said. “I’m really passionate about workplace safety and environmental compliance. I’m here to help SCT and our customers in any way I can.”

Most recently, Mr. Joyce served as the Vice President of Global Environment, Health and Safety for Owens-Illinois Global, a $7.5 billion enterprise and a Fortune 500 Company. In that role, Mr. Joyce developed the global EHS leadership team that covered 27,000 employees at 79 factories in 24 countries. His business acumen and leadership led to a reduction of all major measurable safety indicators.

“Jim brings a wealth of international safety and health experience to the table and I look forward to seeing the new opportunities that it will create for our company,” said SCT Vice President of Safety Engineering Services Nick Walters.

Mr. Joyce grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, surrounded by the steel and manufacturing industries that define the region. Manufacturing and industry have been in his blood for generations—his grandfathers worked in the steel and railroad industries and his father worked at General Motors.

From 1976 to 1986, Mr. Joyce worked his way up the ranks at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, eventually becoming the general foreman of operations. Mr. Joyce then worked at Bayer Corp. for more than two decades starting in 1986, beginning in technical sales, product management, and mergers and acquisitions.

His transition to EHS began in 1993, when a fire and explosion at one of the company’s newly acquired plants in Boston injured several fire fighters. Following the incident, Mr. Joyce was promoted to lead the plant’s renewed focus on EHS.

“I discovered I really liked the work,” Mr. Joyce said. “It was almost as if EHS found me.”

He developed and implemented a new safety response system that involved employees at all levels. His efforts and safety measures worked. Injuries and other safety-related recordables decreased, and workers at the plant enjoyed a safer and healthier workplace.

“This was an opportunity to fix something that was broken,” Mr. Joyce said.

The system was such a success that he was selected to be Bayer’s Global Director of EHS, and led the new safety response system’s implementation at nine more factories in the U.S., England, Germany and China, where employee health and safety also greatly increased.

In 2012, Mr. Joyce worked independently as an EHS consultant for Norit Americas, Inc. and Owens-Illinois, before joining O-I full time.

SCT is a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) delivering comprehensive occupational safety and health solutions to both the public and private sectors. SCT’s mission is to provide clients with reliable and responsible services that will save costs and create efficiencies without compromising environmental, occupational, and engineering quality.

For all occupational safety & health needs, contact the experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.