SCT Names New Vice President of Health Services

Safety Controls Technology (SCT) is proud to announce Jonathan Corrigan, DHSc, PA-C as the company’s new Vice President of Health Services.

Dr. Corrigan joined SCT in April 2018 as the Director of Health Services, and this promotion to Vice President is the culmination of a year of hard work overseeing the expansion of SCT’s Occupational Health Division. The division now operates at three locations in the Cleveland area, plus a fully functional mobile unit. Reaching hundreds of clients each day, SCT delivers a wealth of services including TSA Pre Check; background checks; vaccinations; DOT and non-DOT physicals; OSHA Medical Surveillance Clearance; American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED training; employee drug and alcohol testing; Drug Free Workplace Program development and administration; pulmonary function testing; and respirator fit testing.

SCT President Gail Grueser said that Dr. Corrigan has been instrumental to the rapid growth of SCT’s Health Services.

“His skill and expertise is invaluable to the Occupational Health Division,” Ms. Grueser said. “I couldn’t be more excited about Jonathan becoming SCT’s Vice President of Health Services.”

Dr. Corrigan holds multiple advanced degrees, including a Doctorate in Health Science from Nova Southeastern University (2017) and a Master of Physician Assistant with a Specialization Certificate in Emergency Medicine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (2008). Dr. Corrigan has worked as a Physician Assistant across the globe in Sacramento, CA; Honolulu, HI; and the Northern Mariana Islands, which are located just south of Japan. While he spent much of his time as a physician assistant in emergency medicine, he also has experience in acute care, urgent care, and psychiatry.

Recently, Dr. Corrigan became a member of the Ohio-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT). The team’s mission is to provide medical care to victims of disasters, both natural and man-made.

Dr. Corrigan was born and raised in the greater Cleveland area, and graduated in 2007 from the University of Findlay with a Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

To learn more about the full range of our Occupational Health Solutions, explore our website, call us at 1-800-204-1729, or complete the contact form below.








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Earthquake Hits Cleveland – Is Your Workplace Prepared?

The Cleveland area – where SCT’s corporate headquarters is located – experienced a 4.0 earthquake on June 10. Luckily, there have been no reports of injuries or damage.

If a stronger earthquake were to hit your workplace, would you be prepared? Make sure earthquake preparedness is a part of your Emergency Action Plan, or EAP. OSHA has a number of valuable resources to help you prepare for an earthquake so that your employees and business are as safe as can be:

  • Pick “safe places” to go to when an earthquake hits. These can be under a sturdy table or desk, or against an interior wall away from windows or tall furniture.
  • Practice drop, cover, and hold-on in each safe place at least twice a year so they become an automatic response.
  • Protect your eyes by keeping your head down.
  • Make a plan ahead of time for workers to follow in the event of an earthquake
  • Wait in your safe place until the shaking stops, then check to see if you are hurt. Move carefully and be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Look out for fires, which is the most common earthquake-related hazard.
  • If you must leave a building after a the shaking stops, use stairs instead of an elevator.
  • If you are outside when an earthquake hits, stay outside. Move away from buildings, trees, or overhead lines. Crouch down and cover your head. Many injuries happen within ten feet of the entrance to buildings due to falling bricks, roofing or other materials.
  • Before an earthquake hits, conduct proper training. Learn First Aid and how to use your workplace’s fire extinguishers.

An overall EAP is also a critical piece of any successful Workplace Safety Management System.  The workplace safety experts at SCT can help you develop an Emergency Action Plan that is customized to your workplace. It will provide protection for your employees and bring you in compliance with related OSHA regulations. Call us at 400-449-6000 or complete the contact form below.








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Safety Technician Jobs to Grow Faster than National Average

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights that the number of safety inspection jobs are set to grow more quickly than the national average.

The average rate of employment growth for all jobs in the U.S. is projected to be 7.4 percent between 2016 and 2026. Two of the occupations with the biggest projected growth are occupational safety and health technicians at 10.1 percent, and occupational health and safety specialists at 8.1 percent.

Both positions also have median annual wage well above the national median annual wage for all jobs.

According to BLS, safety specialists and technicians can inspect and evaluate workplaces, equipment and work practices to ensure that all safety standards and regulations are followed.

Why are safety jobs set to grow?

With construction industry output set to increase by 2.7 percent annually from 2016 to 2026, it makes sense that the safety occupations that are tied so closely with construction projects would grow as well. Construction workers need to remain protected, and some safety inspectors also make sure that their projects are adhering to building codes.

“Along similar lines, the need for safe workplaces—particularly for industries in which accidents are frequent—means that there will be demand for occupations that inspect workplaces, including occupational health and safety specialists and technicians. Maintaining high safety standards in our workspaces means that these inspectors are an integral part of the workplace, a kind of quality assurance to keep worksites functioning at an optimum safety level. In addition to compliance, companies that conduct their own internal regular inspections can lead to fewer workplace injuries and greater employee morale,” according to the BLS report.

SCT Safety Academy to Train Next Generation

Ready to jump into a career you’ll love? The SCT Safety Academy is the perfect opportunity to jumpstart your career in the world of occupational safety and health.

At the SCT Safety Academy, you can earn multiple certificates focused on OSHA’s Construction Standards, and graduate with the tools to identify and abate occupational safety and health hazards on construction sites. All for FREE!

Students will receive Course Certificates in the following subject areas:

  • Fall Prevention and Protection
  • CPR/First Aid/AED
  • Excavation & Trenching
  • Forklift Operations
  • BobCat Operations
  • Aerial Lift Operations
  • Scissor Lift Operations
  • Confined Space
  • Industrial Hygiene Sampling for Particulates
  • Lock Out/Tag Out
  • OSHA 30 Hour Certification in the Construction Industry

We are accepting applications until May 15, 2019. Apply today! 

Six States Sue to Fully Restore OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Rule

A joint lawsuit filed March 6 by the attorneys general of New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York is trying to stop the rollback of OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule.

The lawsuit claims that OSHA did not provide a “reasoned explanation” for the change to the rule that would require many employers to submit injury and illness data online, according to Safety and Health Magazine. 

In January 2019, OSHA cited privacy concerns when it announced that employers would no longer have to submit injury and illness data from Forms 300 and 301.  Only data from Form 300A, which is an annual summary, would be required.

According to the lawsuit, OSHA made this change without meeting the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

“OSHA now argues that the costs of collecting the detailed information outweigh the benefits of doing so. OSHA’s reasons are not only unsupported factually,  but also plagued by logical contradictions,” according to the lawsuit. “OSHA’s explanations for the rule also fail to account for the many benefits of public disclosure that the commenters had raised.”

When the recordkeeping rule was originally adopted in 2016, OSHA stated that the information gained from these reports would help improve workplace safety across the U.S., according to a news release from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

“New Jersey workers – and workers across the country – have the right to know about dangerous conditions on the job,” said Grewal. “Public reporting of workplace safety information helps states enforce our labor laws, forces employers to remove hazards, and empowers workers to demand improvements. Workers deserve that transparency, and the federal government should not be trying to take it away.

The complaint can be read in full by clicking here. 

OSHA Fine Increase Delayed due to Government Shutdown

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may still be operating through the federal government shutdown, certain aspects of OSHA are on hold until the shutdown comes to an end.

One piece that will have to wait is the annual increase for maximum OSHA penalties. A few years back, legislators passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which keeps maximum civil penalties in line with inflation no later than January 15 of each year.

The increase goes into effect when a final rule is published in the Federal Register. However, even though OSHA is one of the agencies that is funded through the current government shutdown, the Office of the Federal Register is not. Therefore, the final rule cannot be published and the penalty increase cannot take place.

Once the new rule is published, here are what the new maximum OSHA penalty levels will be:

  • Serious, Other-than-Serious, or Posting Requirement – $13,260 per violation
  • Failure to Abate – $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date
  • Willful or Repeated – $132,598 per violation

The Department of Labor has posted a “prepublished version” of the final rule on its website. This version is unofficial and will be reviewed and may be changed by the Office of the Federal Register.

The effective date of the penalty increase will coincide with the date of publication, so the increased penalty levels will apply to penalties assessed after the effective date, according to OSHA.

Update: The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 23. It can be viewed online here. 

A strong workplace safety program can protect your workers and help you avoid these costly OSHA fines. Contact the Workplace Safety Experts at SCT today for your free, no obligation consultation.








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OSHA Continues to Operate through Government Shutdown

Despite much of the federal government being shutdown for more than two weeks, some agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are still open for business.

Back in September 2018, legislators passed and President Trump signed into law a “minibus” funding bill, which funded a handful of agencies including the U.S. Department of Labor. OSHA lies under the umbrella of the DOL and is fully funded through October 1, 2019.

OSHA will continue to enforce workplace safety regulations and prosecute citations. The Departments of Defense, Energy and Water, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services are also funded by this minibus bill.

But, with Department of Justice lawyers being furloughed during the shutdown, any litigation that involves the federal government will be impacted.

And since OSHA doesn’t stop, neither do the workplace safety experts at SCT. Contact us today for your free, no obligation consultation. Our experts include former OSHA Area and Regional Directors who have worked for and with the administration for more than a century.

Call us at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.








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Worker deaths decreased slightly in 2017

Total worker deaths decreased in 2017, but fatal falls were at their highest level in decades, according to a new report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In fact, with 887 fatal falls, 2017 represented the highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). This was an increase from the 849 such deaths in 2016 and accounted for 17 percent of all fatal injuries.

There were a total of 5,147 worker deaths in the U.S. in 2017, a slight decrease from the 5,190 in 2016. The fatal injury rate also fell to 3.5 per 100,000 full time equivalent workers (FTE) in 2017, down from 3.6 in 2016.

Although 2017 saw a decrease in worker deaths from 2016, it was still much higher than the number of worker deaths experienced from 2009 to 2015, as seen in the chart below.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

“While today’s report shows a decline in the number of workplace fatalities, the loss of even one worker is too many,” OSHA Acting Assistant Loren Sweatt said in a news release.  “Through comprehensive enforcement and compliance assistance that includes educating job creators about their responsibilities under the law, and providing robust education opportunities to workers, OSHA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the American workforce.”

A few more highlights from this year’s report:

  • Transportation incidents once again were the most common fatal workplace injury, accounting for 2,077 deaths (40 percent).
  • For the fifth straight year, unintentional drug or alcohol overdoses increased by more than 25 percent, accounting for 272 deaths in 2017.
  • With 33 deaths, crane-related fatalities reached their lowest ever level recorded in the CFOI
  • Confined space deaths increased to 166 in 2017 from 144 in 2016, a 15 percent jump
  • “Caught in running equipment or machinery” fatalities decreased 26 percent, from 103 in 2016 to 76 in 2017
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers had the largest number of fatal workplace injuries (987), while fishers and logging workers had the highest fatal injury rates (99.8 per 100,000 FTE workers)
  • 15 percent of fatally injured workers were age 65 or older, a CFOI high for that demographic
  • 27 states had fewer workplace deaths in 2017 than in 2016, while 21 states and the District of Columbia had an increase; California and Maine did not change.
  • Fatal injuries among grounds maintenance workers decreased slightly from 247 to 244, but it was still the second-highest mark since 2003; 36 of the deaths were due to falls from trees
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

OSHA Proposes Change to Beryllium Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed changes to the beryllium standard for general industry. According to OSHA, the changes are designed to clarify the standard and simply compliance.

The proposed rule would add or change the definitions of six terms, namely:

  • beryllium sensitization
  • beryllium work area
  • chronic beryllium disease
  • CBD diagnostic center
  • confirmed positive
  • and dermal contact with beryllium

The proposed rule will also modify additional sections of the standard including “Methods of Compliance,” “Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment,” “Hygiene Areas and Practices,” “Housekeeping,” “Medical Surveillance,” “Hazard Communication,” and “Recordkeeping.”

It would also remove the existing Appendix A, which lists suggested controls, and replace it with a new Appendix A, Operations for Establishing Beryllium Work Areas.

Back in January 2017, OSHA published a final rule Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds. The rule set new permissible exposure limits to significantly reduce beryllium risk to workers. Other requirements included rules for exposure assessment, methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.

OSHA is enforcing the permissible exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms of beryllium per cubic meter of air and the short-term exposure limit of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air for general industry, construction and shipyards.

This new proposed rule satisfies a settlement agreement with stakeholders that had concerns about some of the provisions in the 2017 beryllium final rule.

Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in electronics and the defense industry, among others. Overexposure can cause serious health risks, including incurable chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer. According to OSHA’s estimates, about 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium each year.

Comments, hearing requests, and other information must be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by mail. Comments must be submitted by February 11, 2019. The enforcement date for the provisions affected by this proposal is December 12, 2018.

Nonfatal injury & illness rate falls again

The nonfatal injury and illness rate for private-sector workers in the U.S. fell once again in 2017, according to new annual data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Nov. 8, 2018.

The nonfatal injury and illness rate stands at 2.8 cases per 100 full-time workers for 2017, compared to 2.9 in 2016 and 3.0 in 2015. Since 2003, this rate has decreased every year but 2012, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Per the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, about 2.8 million non fatal injuries and illnesses were reported in 2017,  about 45,800 fewer compared to 2016.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

Nearly one-third of the nonfatal injuries – about 882,000 cases – resulted in workers missing days away from work (DAFW). The rate on these injuries fell from 91.7 per 10,000 full-time workers in 2016 to 89.4 in 2017. The median days away from work remained unchanged from 2016 at eight. This is a helpful metric in determining the severity of injuries.

Specifically, DAFW injuries involving overexertion in lifting or lowering rose by 3,250 cases, while struck by injuries decreased by 4,180 cases.

Nursing and residential care facilities had the highest nonfatal injury and illness incidence rate at 10.9 per 100 full-time equivalent workers. The rest of the top five:

  • Motor home manufacturing – 10.3 incidence rate
  • Skiing facilities – 10.2 incidence rate
  • Veterinary services – 9.8 incidence rate
  • Materials recovery facilities – 9.8 incidence rate

In the manufacturing sector, the overall injury rate decreased but the DAFW rate did not change from the previous year. More than 33 percent of of DAFW incidents in manufacturing were due to musculoskeletal disorders. The rate of these injuries fell from 32.9 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2016 to 31.4 cases in 2017.

Sprains, strains and tears were the leading type of injury in manufacturing.

Only two industry sectors – manufacturing as well as finance and insurance – saw a “statistically significant” change in overall injury rates.

The BLS is expected to release data covering fatal workplace injuries in December of this year.

Crane Operator Final Rule Issued by OSHA

OSHA has released the final rule that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators on Nov. 7, 2018. The final rule also maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate the equipment.

The final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 9, 2018, will require that employers train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate the operators, and then document successful completion of the evaluations. If employers completed evaluations before Dec. 9, 2018, they will not have to reevaluate the operators, but will only have to document that the evaluations occurred.

Crane operators must be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or the type only, and must receive ongoing training for new equipment. The capacity and type distinction revises a 2010 crane operator requirement that certifications must specify the rated lifting capacity of the cranes that the operator is certified on.

While testing organizations are not required to issue certifications distinguished by rated capacities, they are permitted to do so, and employers may accept them or continue to use certifications based on crane type alone.

OSHA estimates that 117,130 crane operators will be impacted by the final rule. The estimated cost to the industry will be $1.481 million for the performance of operator competency evaluations, $62,000 for documenting those evaluations, and $94,000 for any additional training needed for operators, bringing the total annual cost of compliance to $1.637 million.

But at the same time, OSHA does anticipate the rule will save money for employers. Due to fewer operators needing to get an additional certification, OSHA expects a “large one-time cost savings” of more than $25 million. An additional annual saving of $426,000 is also expected as certifications for operators moving to a higher capacity would no longer be needed.

Additionally, because most employers are already complying with many of the training and evaluation requirements, OSHA concluded that, on average, the impact of costs on employers will be low.

Most portions of the crane operator final rule will become effective on Dec. 10, 2018. Evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on Feb. 7, 2019.