Kick off the Holidays with the 12 Days of PPE

Here at SCT, the safety experts are getting in the holiday spirit with a safety-focused rendition of the classic song “12 Days of Christmas.”

While we may not win any awards for our singing talent, we nonetheless hope you enjoy our “12 Days of PPE” video below and use it as an entertaining reminder to always follow proper workplace safety procedures, including wearing the right PPE for the job.

Be sure to check out for all of your safety gear needs. Use code HOLIDAY2017 for 10% off your order of $100 or more.

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!



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!



Remembering Road Traffic Victims

On the third Sunday of November, the United Nations recognizes the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

Overall, road traffic is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and is the leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. About 1.25 million people are killed and millions more are injured. About 100 people die each day in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In the world of occupational health and safety, OSHA reported that 1,264 people were killed in “roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles” in 2015. This was a 9 percent increase from the 2014 mark and accounted for more than a quarter of all fatal occupational injuries.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

One of the easiest ways to help prevent motor vehicle deaths is to always buckle up. Seat belts save 14,000 lives in the U.S. each year and cut the risk of death for people riding in cars by 45 percent.

Additionally, an employee cell phone policy can help curb distracted driving, which is estimated to be a factor in about 25-30 percent of all traffic crashes. Check out our blog post from earlier this year for more details about creating a successful employee cell phone policy.

OSHA has provided a guide to get employers started on developing an effective worker driving program:

  1. Senior Management Commitment & Employee Involvement
  2. Written Policies and Procedures
  3. Driver Agreements
  4. Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks
  5. Crash Reporting and Investigation
  6. Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection
  7. Disciplinary Action System
  8. Reward/Incentive Program
  9. Driver Training/Communication
  10. Regulatory Compliance

As winter closes in, safe driving strategies are more important than ever. Make safe driving a priority so that every worker makes it home safely at the end of the day.

For all your occupational safety and health needs, contact SCT at 1-800-204-1729. Businesses who expect the best turn to SCT.

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.



New Bill Would Require Safety Review of Federal Contractors

Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives in an effort to make federal contractors more accountable for the safety of their employees.

If the Contractor Accountability and Workplace Safety Act passes into law, the Department of Defense (DoD) must review past labor law violations of contractors that bid on contracts worth $1 million or more. The contracting officers who decide which companies are awarded contracts must check OSHA inspection records of the contractors and subcontractors, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Additionally,  the DoD must train these officers on how to evaluate the safety records. The Government Accountability Office would also review DoD’s procedures to ensure they are being carried out effectively.

This bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), is similar to a bill introduced by Sen. Diane Warren (D-MA) earlier this year.

In March 2017, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which required some federal contractors to disclose any of a set of 14 labor law violations during the past three years, was revoked.

Currently, potential government contractors are reviewed, but the the vetting process focuses more on “business related behavior and not on worker protections,” according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Trying to earn a government contract? Ensure your safety programs reach all standards by contacting the experts at SCT. Call at 1-800-204-1729 or use the contact form below.



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 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!



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.

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.



OSHA Top 10 Violations for 2017 Released

At last week’s National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Indianapolis, the NSC released the preliminary OSHA Top 10 Violations list for the 2017 fiscal year.  The data includes violations through Sept. 4.

Once again, general fall protection requirements topped the list with more than 6,000 citations, almost 2,000 more than second-place hazard communication. The top five remained unchanged from 2016, with ladders moving up to sixth and powered industrial trucks falling to one spot to seventh.

Fall protection training is a new entry in the 2017 list, taking 9th place with 1,523 citations. General electrical requirements fell out of the top 10.

The full list according to the NSC:

  • Fall Protection; General Requirements (1926.501) – 6,072
  • Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 4,176
  • Scaffolding (1926.451) – 3,288
  • Respiratory Protection (1910.134) –  3,097
  • Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) –  2,877
  • Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,241
  • Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,162
  • Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 1,933
  • Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) – 1,523
  • Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 1,405

“The OSHA Top 10 is more than just a list, it is a blueprint for keeping workers safe,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman in a news release. “When we all work together to address hazards, we can do the best job possible to ensure employees go home safely each day.”

The finalized data is set to be released in December 2017.

At SCT, we can help your company identify and eliminate all of these hazards. Whether it’s through on-site workplace audits, complete safety program development, or refresher training for employees and supervisors, our team of experts will help you reach your safety goals.

Contact us today online or call us at 1-800-204-1729.

While you’re here, check out our video below that covers OSHA’s Top 10 Citations from FY2016. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel or Like us on Facebook so you never miss a new video from us.