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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fire protection week SCT

Workplace Fire Safety: 3 Golden Rules

October 7 through the 13 is National Fire Prevention Week, and workplace fire safety statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that fire departments respond to over 3,000 office property fires every year.

The good news: Office fires can be prevented, and fatalities can be avoided, with a bit of education and awareness.

fire protection week SCT

 

The 3 Golden Rules of Workplace Fire Safety

  • Maintain working fire extinguishers, AND train your staff on how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Employ a working sprinkler system and smoke detectors.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place!

Sprinklers save the day: If present, sprinklers operate effectively about 90% of the time. In fact, the rate of fatalities per 1,000 fires was about 60% lower in businesses outfitted with sprinklers, as compared to offices and stores without sprinklers. That’s a huge difference!

About a quarter of workplace fires are actually caused by cooking equipment, so do your cooking in a space that’s properly equipped for food preparation. These stats also seem to indicate you should probably leave your hotplate from your college days at home.

 

workplace fire safety SCT 2

 

Finally, clutter is a big contributor to the start – and spread – of workplace fires. Keeping a neat work space not only helps you look good when clients or your boss from corporate walk through; but a tidy work space goes a long way in terms of workplace fire safety.

Emergency Action Plans: Your Road map to Workplace Fire Safety 

Emergency Action Plans, or EAPs, are plans written in advance to guide you and your organization during an emergency. An EAP typically designates who does what: Who calls 9-1-1? Who leads the building evacuation and takes a head count? And perhaps most importantly: Who is responsible for maintaining and operating the fire extinguishers? While the NFPA actually suggests monthly fire extinguisher inspections, it’s important to remember that even small fires spread fast. So getting out quickly and safely is always priority number one.

SCT frequently lectures on several safety topics including EAPs: Check out a short video outlining EAPs and fire safety 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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Why Choose a Career as a Safety and Health Professional?

Every worker in the world deserves to work in a safe environment and return home unharmed at the end of every work day. To make that happen, qualified safety and health professionals are necessary to guide the way.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016. That’s an average of more than 14 deaths each and every day.

A career as a safety and health professional has plenty of perks.

First and foremost, safety and health professionals experience satisfaction in their work, knowing they are saving lives each and every day. The safety industry is also a growing field that offers several paths to success and personal financial stability.

Plus, the variety in the work is unrivaled. Safety professionals can travel across the globe and work at dozens of different types of work sites, all in the name of saving lives.

What does a Safety and Health Professional do?

A safety and health pro’s main goal is to ensure that all staff and co-workers work safely and have all the knowledge to do so. Depending on the company or organization, the specific duties and roles of the position can vary widely.

At SCT, our team of Occupational Safety and Health Technicians are often a client’s first line of defense in identifying and abating workplace safety hazards. Our technicians often act as the safety lead on hazardous job sites and conduct site audits, weekly toolbox talks, employee drug testing, environmental monitoring, employee training, and more.

Am I Qualified?

As with the job duties discussed above, qualifications to work in the health and safety field are also quite varied. Many colleges and universities offer two-year, four-year, or post-graduate degrees in the occupational health and safety field.

There are also about 300 certification programs offered in the United States centered on safety, health, environment and ergonomics, according to the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

Even if you have a degree, with so many different types of businesses needing the expertise of a health and safety professional there’s always something new to learn. Plus, industry regulations are always changing, which makes a career in health and safety a great choice for those who love to learn.

At SCT, we’re always looking for qualified safety professionals and recent graduates. Check out our career page by clicking here and send your resume our way!

National Protect Your Hearing Month is October 2018

Can you hear me now? Hopefully you can, because October is National Protect Your Hearing Month.

But if you’re one of the 22 million workers exposed annually to hazardous noise levels at work, it might be a struggle. According to the Centers for Disease Control, occupational hearing loss is the most common workplace injury in the U.S.

On top of the human toll of injured workers, occupational hearing loss also costs employers millions of dollars every year. According to OSHA, U.S. businesses pay out about $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers from noise. Another estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers’ compensation for hearing loss injuries.

How loud is too loud?

If noise levels reach 85 decibels, it can damage your hearing after repeated exposure of longer than eight hours. What is 85 decibels? It’s loud enough that you must raise your voice to be heard by someone an arm’s length away. Many sounds reach this level, including lawn mowers, vacuums, or using earbuds with the volume level at about 70 percent.

Noise at 95 decibels (when you have to shout to be heard at arm’s length) can be a risk to your hearing in less than an hour.  Bulldozers, sirens, chain saws, and large sporting events are louder than 95 decibels.

Damaged hearing can make it difficult or impossible to hear high-pitch frequencies, and also make it hard to communicate with others. Researchers are also exploring if loud noise at work can have additional health effects, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Source: CDC

How to Protect Workers

Most people have seen or used ear plugs and ear muffs, but those are not the only – or most effective – ways to protect the hearing of workers.

Engineering controls involve modifying or replacing equipment. Examples include:

  • using low-noise tools and machinery
  • maintaining and lubricating machinery and equipment
  • placing a barrier like a curtain or a sound wall between the noise source and the employee
  • enclosing or isolating the noise source

Administrative controls, which are changes in the workplace or schedule that reduce worker exposure to noise, can also be highly effective. These include:

  • operating noisy machines when fewer workers are present
  • limiting the amount of time a worker is exposed to the hazard
  • providing a quiet rest area for workers to remove themselves from the noise
  • move employees farther from the noise source; every doubling of distance between the worker and the noise source decreases the exposure by six decibels

National Protect Your Hearing Month is the perfect time to ensure your hearing conservation program is all it can be. Contact the OSHA Workplace Safety Experts at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.








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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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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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N is for Noise Hazards in the Workplace

Can you hear me now? Good!

According to the Centers for Disease Control, hearing loss is the most common workplace injury. With more than 20 million U.S. workers exposed to damaging noise at work each year, noise hazards are present in almost every workplace.

Our experts at SCT can create a comprehensive workplace safety plan designed to eliminate noise hazards and other safety risks at your workplace.

Make sure your volume is set to a safe level and watch our newest ABCs of Safety video to learn the best ways to protect workers from noise hazards. Then head over to www.sctsupply.com and check out our wide variety of hearing protection products from dozens of the top brands in the safety industry.

Need to solve complex noise hazard issues at your workplace? Ensure your safety program is OSHA compliant and contact the experts at SCT today!








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