Are your outdoor safety practices up to par?

The temperatures are climbing across the U.S., which means workers exposed to the elements need to evaluate their outdoor safety precautions!

We’ve made multiple videos about how to “Beat The Heat” when working outdoors, and how to manage severe weather systems on a job site. This year has already seen officials from CAL/OSHA issue high heat advisories for portions of southern California.

“It is important for employers to check forecasts and monitor the temperatures to prepare for periods of high heat,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum in a statement, reported by EHS Today. “That information should be used to closely observe workers for possible heat stress and modify their work schedules as needed.”

Take a couple minutes, watch our videos, and kick off your Spring and Summer Tool Box Talks with a handy outdoor safety guides to lead your work crew.

SCT’s YouTube Outdoor Safety Playlist

SCT Experts Host Monthly Safety Webinar

SCT Vice President Nick Walters and Regional Director Tom Bielema have partnered with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce to host a safety webinar each month.

The webinars, which are available on the Chamber’s website, provide recertification credits for HR professionals, attorneys, CPAs and payroll professionals. SCT will host a number of webinars throughout the year, but here are the next two on the schedule.


May 15th at 10:30AM-12PM CST: Lockout/Tagout & Machine Guarding

Lockout/Tagout & Machine Guarding can be your best friend if used properly, or your worst nightmare if ignored. These complex standards cover almost every machine used in general industry. This webinar will help simplify these complexities and realize that these issues can be fixed by knowing what to look for.

June 19th at 10:30AM-12PM CST: Personal Protective Equipment & Respirators

Although PPE is the least effective way to protect your employees from a hazard, sometimes it is the only way. Respirator and PPE deficiencies are very common in all industries and consistently rank in OSHA’s Top 10 Most Violated Standards. This webinar will teach you why PPE is important, and how to create a culture where PPE always comes first.


If you can’t make the scheduled times to watch the webinars live, never fear! Every webinar is recorded for later playback and is available for purchase from the Chamber.

ABCs of Safety: L is for Ladders

During this week’s National Safety Stand-Down, we have a timely edition of the ABCs of Safety video series.

Ladders are one of the most commonly used tools in various workplaces, but many people still tend to use them in dangerous ways. Check out our video below to learn some of the most common ladder mistakes that can lead to falls, injuries, or even death.

Need to spruce up your company’s OSHA safety compliance plan? Contact our workplace safety experts today at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.








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SCT offers 6-Part Medical Evaluation

With the expansion of our Occupational Health Department’s services to include blood draws, SCT is excited to announce that we are providing a 6-part medical evaluation that is specifically designed for workers exposed to hazards within the industrial painting industry.

The 6-part service, which we formally call the 6-Part Painter’s Medical Evaluation, provides the comprehensive medical testing for workers who are expected to be exposed to hazards involved on industrial painting job sites. The tests included in the medical evaluation provide the OSHA-required baseline for workers and employers to guard against any elevated exposure on a job site.

Features of SCT’s 6-part medical evaluation include:

  1. Respiratory Medical Clearance Questionnaire and Review
  2. Spirometry (Pulmonary Function Test)
  3. Audiogram Evaluation & Snellen Vision Test
  4. Lead Level & Zinc Protoporphyrin (ZPP) Blood Draws
  5. Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential Blood Draw
  6. Urine Dip Test

The cost for the evaluation is $195 per person.

Let SCT come to you!

SCT has a full suite of mobile occupational health services. Using our state of the art mobile testing unit, we can arrive on your job site, perform all necessary testing, and fit into your schedule.

Contact us today using the contact form below, or talk to Cost Reduction Specialist Terri Cantrell directly at TCantrell@sct.us.com or 440-449-6000.








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National Safety Stand-Down set for May 7-11, 2018

This year’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is set for May 7-11, 2018.

The Safety Stand-Down is an annual effort where the workplace safety industry comes together to focus on preventing falls, which account for more than a third of construction fatalities and are the leading cause of death among construction workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Fall protection also routinely tops OSHA’s list of the Top 10 Most Cited Violations. 

Anyone who wants to prevent fall hazards in the workplace is encouraged to participate in the Stand-Down and there are no requirements for what occurs at a Stand-Down. It can be as simple as hosting a safety toolbox talk, taking extra time to inspect safety equipment, or anything that meets the specific needs at your workplace.

If you need to brush up on your fall protection knowledge, watch our Focus on Fall Protection series below. Feel free to use the videos as a part of your own National Safety Stand-Down event!

CPWR Releases Comprehensive Construction Statistics

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) released a new edition of its comprehensive The Construction Chart Book – The U.S. Construction Industry and Its Workers. 

If you are seeking a specific construction industry statistic, chances are you can find it in the book. It features 100-plus pages of charts, graphs and explanations of dozens of industry topics, including economics, demographics, and safety.

Silica

Silica can be found in numerous common construction site materials, like soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock and granite. As we have discussed extensively on our blog, exposure to respirable crystalline silica can cause silicosis, lung cancer or kidney disease. Construction workers make up about 2 million of the 2.3 million total workers that are exposed to silica hazards.

OSHA’s recently updated silica standard sets the permissible exposure limit (PEL) at 50 micrograms per cubic meter over an eight-hour day. According to CPWR, about 15 percent of construction workers are exposed at or above the PEL.

Source: CPWR

Injury and Fatality Rates

Among selected industrial nations, the United States had the third highest rate of construction fatalities with 9.7 per 100,000 full-time workers. Only Belgium (10.5) and Switzerland (24.6) had higher fatality rates in 2013. The U.S. non-fatal injury rate was much better compared to other countries. At 1.5 per 100 workers, it was the third best rate. The CPWR though does caution drawing too strong of a conclusion due to differences in reporting standards among different countries.

Returning to just the U.S.,  985 construction workers were killed on the job in 2015, which was 20 percent of the total workplace fatalities in the country. Construction’s fatality rate has also risen each year since 2011, with 9.9 deaths per 100,000 full time workers in 2015. This was rate was nearly three times higher than the average of all industries.

Injury Causes

Mirroring the Top 10 Cited OSHA Violations, falls to the same or lower level caused the most fatalities in the construction industry and was the second leading cause of nonfatal injuries. Almost 22% of these fatal falls occur at a height of more than 30 feet, with roofs and ladders as the most common sources of all fatal falls.

Contact with objects caused the most nonfatal injuries.

Want to help you and your employees avoid becoming a statistic? Register for our OSHA 30 Hour Construction course from March 26-29, 2018. Contact SCT Sales Representative Terri Cantrell at TCantrell@sct.us.com or 440-449-6000, or fill out the contact form below!








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ABCs of Safety: C is for Competent Person

“C is for Competent Person” is the third installment of our ABCs of Safety video series. We’re getting back to basics and delving deep in to the guiding principles of occupational safety and health.

Per OSHA’s definition, a “Competent Person” is someone who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards, and who has the authority to take swift corrective measures to remove said hazards.

Check out our “C is for Competent Person” video below to learn the duties of a competent person on a worksite.

OSHA’s “Competent Person” Definition, word-for-word:

“A person who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”

Designating a competent person on your team is an important aspect of having a well-functioning safety program. Here are some questions to consider when deciding on identifying a competent person:

  • How much field experience does this person have conducting the necessary work?
  • Has this person received training in the needed area of work, and any related subjects?
  • Does this person have experience with supervision?

The safety experts at SCT can help you identify your competent person needs, and train employees to become identified competent persons on their worksites. Contact us today through the form below!








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Beryllium Enforcement Starting in May

OSHA’s updated beryllium standard has been a long time in the making, but a beryllium enforcement date has finally been set.

The administration announced that enforcement of the final rule will begin on May 11, 2018. The enforcement date had previously been scheduled for March 12, 2018. The extended timeframe ensures that stakeholders are aware of their obligations and that OSHA provides consistent instructions to its inspectors, according to an OSHA press release.

Back in January 2017, OSHA announced new comprehensive health standards addressing beryllium exposure in all industries. After seeking feedback from stakeholders, technical updates to the January 2017 General Industry Standard are being considered by the agency.

These updates, according to the press release, “clarify and simplify compliance with requirements.”

In addition to the general industry beryllium enforcement beginning on May 11, 2018, OSHA will also begin enforcement for the new lower 8-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) and short-term (15-minute) exposure limit (STEL) for construction and shipyard industries.

According to OSHA, beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in many industries, including aerospace, medical, electronics, defense, and telecommunications. But beryllium is highly toxic, and workers who inhale it are at a higher risk of developing chronic beryllium disease or lung cancer.

The new beryllium rule, which has standards for construction, general industry, and shipyards, will decrease the permissible exposure limit of beryllium to an average of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air over 8 hours. A new short-term exposure limit was established at 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air over a 15-minute sampling period.

Until the new beryllium enforcement date, should employers fail to meet the new PEL or STEL, “OSHA will inform the employer of the exposure levels and offer assistance to assure understanding and compliance,” according to the release.

Respiratory health is a major area of concern for OSHA. In addition to the beryllium enforcement starting in May 2018, awareness of and enforcement for OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standards have dominated OSHA news since 2016. Check out our video below about the importance of respiratory health and silica awareness in the workplace.

Need help creating a respiratory health program at your workplace? Contact the experts at SCT by filling out the contact form below. We can guide you through the process, from initial assessment, to program development, air monitoring and training — SCT is your one stop safety shop!








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OSHA stakeholders present to Congressional subcommittee

On February 27, 2018, the congressional Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hosted a hearing entitled “A More Effective and Collaborative OSHA: A View from Stakeholders.”

In his opening statement, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) said the purpose of the meeting was to focus on “how OSHA can work more cooperatively with job creators especially in the small businesses community, to expand its compliance assistance efforts and for employers to provide the safest and healthiest workplaces possible.”

The hearing featured testimony from four witnesses: Peter Gerstenberger, on behalf of the Tree Care Industry Association; J. Gary Hill, on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); Dr. David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary for OSHA; and Eric Hobbs,  on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Gerstenberger told the committee that tree care industry has one of the 10 highest fatality rates in the U.S., with about 80 deaths annually. He also stated that while OSHA has worked with the association to improve worker safety, it hasn’t done enough and a specific safety standard is needed.

“From our perspective, federal OSHA could be most effective if it would adopt a rule specific to our industry. Here is why: a regulation will inform and empower every OSHA Certified Safety and Health Official to identify hazards and control measures unique to tree work and to intervene to prevent accidents,” Gerstenberger said.

Hill testified about the need for the expansion of small business compliance assistance because many small construction companies are confused by the existing standards.

“NAHB’s members want to ensure they are compliant with existing standards, but it is not always clear what the regulatory requirements are, especially when coupled with all of the other regulations that apply to the home building industry,” Hill said. “If OSHA’s goal is truly to ensure worker safety rather than the collection of fines, it must reorient away from its emphasis on enforcement and promulgation of new standards and focus more on compliance assistance to businesses subject to its regulations.”

Michaels, who led OSHA from 2009 to January 2017, said in his testimony that compliance programs are useful for employees who voluntarily want to protect their employees, but that clear standards and “strong, fair enforcement” are more effective in protecting workers.

Michaels also said the sentiment that safety regulations kill jobs is incorrect. “It is more accurate to call OSHA standards public health ‘protections’ because that’s exactly what they do: protect workers from preventable injuries, illnesses and death. When you hear someone talk about rolling back OSHA regulations, they’re really talking about endangering workers.”

In his testimony, Hobbs said OSHA needs to regain the trust of employers.

“For OSHA to lead the effort at improving workplace safety effectively, it must rebuild that trust. No single step or statement by the agency will do so. It will take a sustained, consistent effort,” Hobbs said. “Employers will welcome having a partner in the agency and being able to turn to it as a resource, rather than just to suffer under it as a disciplinarian.”

The submitted written testimony from each witness is available online at the committee’s website. A complete video recording of the hearing is also available on YouTube. 

ABCs of Safety: B is for Best Practices

“B is for Best Practices” is the second installment of our ABCs of Safety video series. We’re getting back to basics and delving deep in to the guiding principles of occupational safety and health.

The term “Best Practices” can vary between companies and industries, but there is a core group of OSHA-recognized safety elements that are deemed essential for successful workplace safety programs.

Check out our “B is for Best Practices” video below to discover those critical solutions.

6 Key Best Practices as recognized by OSHA

  1. Management leadership
  2. Worker participation
  3. Hazard ID and assessment
  4. Hazard prevention and control
  5. Education and training
  6. Program evaluation and improvement

Did you miss the first letter in our ABCs of Safety video series? Check it out below!

Do you want to review your best practices with one of SCT’s occupational safety and health experts? Tell us what you want to accomplish in our contact form below, and one of our safety team members will reach out to help get you the best solution!








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