Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2019 Released

The annual Top 10 list of most cited OSHA violations for 2019 has been revealed at the annual National Safety Council Congress and Expo, and not much has changed since last year.

For the ninth year in a row, Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) comes in at the top of the list with 6,010 citations. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) moved up one place to fourth with 2,606 violations and Respiratory Protection (1910.134) dropped to fifth with 2,450 citations.

Eye and Face Protection (1926.102), which was new to 2018’s list, remained in the 10th spot on the 2019 list with 1,411 violations.

1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) 6,010
2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) 3,671
3. Scaffolding (1926.451) 2,813
4. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) 2,606
5. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) 2,450
6. Ladders (1926.1053) 2,345
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) 2,093
8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) 1,773
9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) 1,743
10. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) 1,411

“Far too many preventable injuries and deaths occur on the job,” Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO, said in a news release. “The OSHA Top 10 list is a helpful guide for understanding just how adept America’s businesses are in complying with the basic rules of workplace safety. This list should serve as a challenge for us to do better as a nation and expect more from employers. It should also serve as a catalyst for individual employees to re-commit to safety.”

This list is based off of preliminary figures as of August 15, 2019.

NIOSH Celebrates 100 Years of Respiratory Protection

To recognize 100 years of respiratory protection in the U.S.,  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has designated Sept. 3-6, 2019 as the first annual Respiratory Protection Week.

Back in 1919, the U.S. Bureau of Mines started the first respirator certification program to protect miners from harmful atmospheres, with the first respirator becoming certified a few months later. Today, an estimated 5 million U.S. workers are required to wear respirators on the job.

“Respiratory Protection Week honors both the history and the future of the efforts by researchers and practitioners to protect workers from airborne toxins,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., in a news release. “NIOSH’s own ongoing work in respiratory protection represents both a century’s worth of experience in preventing disease for millions of working men and women who have relied on respirators to protect their lungs, and a new century’s research in developing improvements in respiratory protection.”

NIOSH has a number of resources and events available for you to get the most out of this Respiratory Protection Week.

A detailed timeline tracks the history of respiratory protection all the way back to Pliny the Elder, a Roman philosopher who lived from 23-79 AD. He used loose animal bladder skins to filter dust while crushing cinnabar, which is a “toxic, mercuric sulfide mineral used at the time for pigmentation in decorations.”

NIOSH will also host an online webinar on September 5, 2019, at 1 P.M. EST to discuss the state of using Powered Air Purifying Respirators in the healthcare industry.

Plus, NIOSH has created a set of handy infographics covering respiratory topics including Atmosphere-Supplying Respirators, Air-Purifying Respirators, and understanding the difference between different types of common respirators.

To keep updated on this year’s Respiratory Protection Week, you can follow@NIOSH_NPPTL on Twitter and search the hashtag #100yrsRespirators.

At SCT, our Occupational Health experts can provide both qualitative and quantitative respiratory fit tests to ensure your employees are properly fitted with respirators that will protect them and comply with all OSHA standards.

Fill out the contact form below or call us at 1-800-204-1729.








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10 Ways to Start Your Safety Program

Safe and Sound Week 2019 is the perfect time to jump start your company’s workplace safety program.

According to OSHA, employers pay almost $1 billion per week in direct workers’ compensation costs. While this figure includes things like medical expenses and legal services, it does not consider indirect costs including training of replacement employees, lost productivity, accident investigation, and lower employee morale.

For Safe and Sound Week, OSHA has released a helpful Top 10 list of simple ways to get your comprehensive workplace safety program up and running with a solid base.

  • Establish safety and health as a core value
  • Lead by example
  • Implement a reporting system
  • Provide training
  • Conduct inspections
  • Collect hazard control ideas
  • Implement hazard controls
  • Address emergencies
  • Seek input on workplace changes
  • Make improvements to the program

And if you’re still unsure of how to create your workplace safety program or want to take it to the next level, it might be time to contact the OSHA Workplace Safety Experts at SCT.

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








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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. 

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

 

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.

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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