OSHA issues proposed rule to extend compliance date for crane operator certification requirements

Feb. 7, 2014

Contact: Office of Communications

Phone: 202-693-1999

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a proposed rule to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.

OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work on Aug. 9, 2010. The standard requires crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After OSHA issued the standard, a number of parties raised concerns about the qualification/certification requirements. After conducting several public meetings, OSHA decided to extend the enforcement date so that the certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the construction industry.

Comments may submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details and additional information about this proposed rule. Comments must be submitted by March 12, 2014.

OSHA held three stakeholder meetings on operator certification/qualification issues in April 2013 and posted detailed notes of the meetings at http://www.osha.gov/cranes-derricks/stakeholders.html, a Web page devoted to the stakeholder meeting. A list of frequently asked questions are also posted on OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction Web page to provide additional clarification and address some comments and concerns raised by stakeholders.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

###

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

The 411 on the Globally Harmonized System

GHS Labeling

If you work with hazardous chemicals, you have likely heard about the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals or GHS. In a nutshell, the GHS was developed by the United Nations as a way to bring into agreement the chemical regulations and standards of different countries. In the United States, OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the GHS in March of 2012.

GHS LabelingWhy all the fuss? The GHS is basically an international attempt to get everyone on the same page. The United Nations realized that many countries already have/had regulatory systems in place for classification, labeling, etc.; however the differences are significant enough to require multiple classifications, labels, and safety data sheets for the same product. Multiple classifications can lead to inconsistent protection for users as well as extensive regulatory burdens on chemical companies. The hope is that every country will incorporate the GHS elements into their own chemical management systems with the goal of making the international sale and transportation of hazardous chemicals easier, as well as making workplace conditions safer for all employees exposed to chemical hazards.

So what does this mean to me?

To date, over 65 countries have adopted (or are in the process of adopting) the GHS. If your company acquires chemicals from one of these countries, you will benefit from a consistent set of criteria regarding definitions, classifications, labeling and safety data sheet information for the chemical you use. In the United States, you will notice two significant changes contained in the revised OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. The revised standard requires the use of new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). The new labeling elements and SDS requirements will improve your understanding of the hazards associated with the chemicals in your workplace.

When does this all take effect? To help companies comply with the revised standard, OSHA is phasing in the specific requirements over several years (December 1, 2013 to June 1, 2016). Specifically, by December 1, 2013, employers should have trained their employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet format.

By June 1, 2015, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must come into compliance with all modified provisions of the final rule. Further, by December 1, 2015, distributors shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it has a GHS label. Finally, by June 1, 2016, employers must update alternative workplace labeling and their hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

Employers will need to ensure they have incorporated the revised Hazard Communication Standard into their Hazard Communication program including replacing current MSDSs and labels with updated (GHS appropriate) SDSs and labels as well as train their employees in the new standard, however, once everyone is “singing—in harmony—from the same sheet of music,” a safer workplace will be the payoff.

If you would like more information or need to complete the required employee training on the new Hazard Communication Standard, contact Randy Free at 800-788-7036 or email him at rfree@safetylinks.net

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

OSHA provides advice for workers to various consulates

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — Officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are announcing an agreement on Long Island with representatives of the Salvadoran consuls that serve the metropolitan region.

OSHA spokesman Edmund Fitzgerald says the agreement will provide Salvadoran workers in New York and New Jersey with helpful information. He says OSHA will provide training and guidance about workplace safety, health issues and their rights in the workplace.

Similar agreements have been made previously with OSHA offices and the consulates of Dominican Republic. Mexico, Guatemala, Philippines and Brazil.

It also has cooperative working relationships with the consulates of Argentina, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Colombia.

The event takes place Wednesday afternoon at the Salvadoran consul in Brentwood, on Long Island.

To view the original article, visit http://online.wsj.com/article/AP0d382cf8070148e888d5d8016a4363ba.html.

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

OSHA renews alliance with Scaffold and Access Industry Association

Dec. 18, 2013

Contact: Office of Communications

Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA renews alliance with Scaffold and Access Industry Association to protect workers from scaffold hazards

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today renewed its alliance with the Scaffold and Access Industry Association to provide information and training to protect the safety and health of workers who use scaffolds and lift equipment. Through the alliance, OSHA and SAIA will work to reduce and prevent fall and caught-in-between hazards and issues related to frame, mast climbing and suspended scaffolds and aerial lift equipment.

“Worker injuries and deaths from scaffolding hazards can be prevented when employers provide training on safe set up and use of equipment,” said Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “By renewing our alliance with SAIA we will expand our outreach to employers and workers and provide important training to protect workers in the scaffold and access industry.”

Through the alliance, OSHA and SAIA will focus on reducing and preventing fall and caught-in-between hazards; address potential hazards associated with mast climbing scaffolds, suspended scaffolds, and aerial lift equipment; and emphasize the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The alliance members will also use injury and illness data in selected industries to help identify areas of emphasis for alliance awareness and outreach activities.

Founded in 1972, SAIA is a national trade organization that advocates worker safety in the scaffold, aerial lift and access industry worldwide. The organization represents 1,000 member companies that employ more than 200,000 workers.

For more information, visit the OSHA-SAIA Alliance page. The agreement will remain in effect for five years.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

OSHA renews partnership with electrical commission and distribution contractors associations

OSHA renews strategic partnership with electrical transmission and distribution contractors, associations to reduce worker injuries, deaths

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today renewed a national strategic partnership with employers, workers and professional associations in the electrical transmission and distribution industry to reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths among linesman and other electrical workers. The partnership includes ten of the nation’s largest electrical transmission and distribution contractors, an electrical industry labor union and two trade associations, representing about 80% of the industry.

Since its establishment in 2004, there has been a noticeable reduction in the injury, illness and fatality rates among the partners’ workers, which include close to 26,000 workers. Fatalities among these workers have dropped from 11 in 2004 to 1 in 2013.

“By working on common goals through the partnership, partner injury, illness and fatality rates have been reduced,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this national partnership, the partner companies and associations looked at factors causing fatal incidents and other serious injuries and implemented changes to reduce and prevent the number of fatalities not only within their own companies, but in the industry as a whole. We look forward to seeing even greater outcomes of this partnership in the future.”

The partnership has developed and implemented best practices that directly correspond to key hazards and operations associated with injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the industry. These practices include fall protection, the use of specific insulating protective equipment and the implementation of safety checks. The partnership also has trained more than 33,000 workers and supervisors through industry-specific courses developed by the partners. OSHA and industry partners are in the process of expanding these courses to provide industry-wide training.

Members of the partnership include Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Davis H. Elliot Co. Inc., Henkels & McCoy Inc., MasTec Inc., MDU Construction Services Group Inc., Michels Corp., MYR Group Inc., PLH Group, Pike Electric LLC, Quanta Services Inc., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Edison Electric Institute and the National Electrical Contractors Association. For more information, see OSHA’s Web page on the partnership.

This is one of several national partnerships. OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program helps encourage, assist and recognize the efforts of partners to eliminate serious workplace hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health. Most strategic partnerships seek to have a broad impact by building cooperative relationships with groups of employers and workers. These partnerships are voluntary relations among OSHA, employers, worker representatives and others including trade unions, trade and professional associations, universities and other government agencies.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

The Top Hazards Associated With Machine Guarding

Machine Safety Sign

Moving machine parts have the potential for causing severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, and blindness, just to name a few. Also machine guarding and related machinery violations continuously rank among the top 20 of OSHA citations issued. Here are the top 4 issues we find in the field:

#1 Missing Machine GuardMachine Safety Sign

1910.212(a)(1) General requirements for all machines—Machine guarding. Types of guarding—One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.

#2 Bench Grinder Tongue Guard out of Adjustment

1910.215(b)(9) Guarding of abrasive wheel machinery. The peripheral protecting member (guard) shall be provided and adjusted within 1⁄4 inch of the wheel to contain and deflect fragments away from the operator.

#3 Bench Grinder Work Rest out of Adjustment

1910.215(a)(4) Abrasive wheel machinery—General requirements. Work rests—on offhand grinding machines, work rests shall be used to support the work.… Work rests shall be kept adjusted closely to the wheel with a maximum opening of 1⁄8 inch to prevent work from being jammed between wheel and rest.…

#4 Point of Operation Machine Guarding

1910.212(a)(3) General requirements for all machines—Machine guarding. Point of operation of machines whose operation exposes an employee to injury shall be guarded.… Special hand tools for placing and removing material shall permit easy handling of material without the operator placing a hand in the danger zone.

In general any machine part, function, or process that might cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with it could injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be either controlled or eliminated.

Here are some general requirements and suggestions for Safeguards:

  1. Prevent contact: The safeguard must prevent hands, arms, and any other part of an operator’s body from making contact with dangerous moving parts. A good safeguarding system eliminates the possibility of the operator or another worker placing parts of their bodies near hazardous moving parts.
  2. Secure: Operators should not be able to easily remove or tamper with the safeguard, because a safeguard that can easily be made ineffective is no safeguard at all. Guards and safety devices should be made of durable material that will withstand the conditions of normal use. They must be firmly secured to the machine.
  3. Protect from falling objects: The safeguard should ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts. A small tool dropped into a cycling machine could easily become a projectile that could strike and injure someone.
  4. Create no new hazards: A safeguard defeats its own purpose if it creates a hazard such as a shear point, a jagged edge, or an unfinished surface that could cause a laceration. The edges of guards, for instance, should be rolled or bolted in such a way to eliminate sharp edges.
  5. Create no interference: Any safeguard that impedes an operator from performing the job quickly and comfortably might soon be overridden or disregarded. Proper safeguarding may actually enhance efficiency since it relieves the operator’s apprehensions about injury.
  6. Allow safe lubrication: If possible, workers should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards. Locating oil reservoirs outside the guard, with a line leading to the lubrication point, will reduce the need for the operator or maintenance operator to enter the hazardous area.

Keep in mind that guards are engineering controls which eliminate the hazard at the source and do not rely on the operator’s behavior for their effectiveness. With that said even the most elaborate safeguarding system cannot offer effective protection unless the operator knows how to use it and why. Specific and detailed training is therefore a crucial part of any effort to provide safeguarding against machine-related hazards.

If you would like to arrange a machine guarding assessment of your facility contact Randy Free. 407-353-8165 or email him at rfree[at]safetylinks.net

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

Contractor Charged with Third-Degree Murder for Building Collapse

Contractor Griffin Campbell Charged with Third-Degree Murder for Philadelphia Building Collapse

Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams on Nov. 25 announced his office was charging 49-year-old Griffin Campbell with six counts of third-degree murder in addition to manslaughter and other charges for his role in the deadly building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets in June. A second contractor already is in jail awaiting a preliminary hearing for six counts of involuntary manslaughter, among other charges.

To view the article, visit http://ehstoday.com/construction/contractor-griffin-campbell-charged-third-degree-murder-philadelphia-building-collapse?page=1.

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

Could CPR Training In Public Kiosks Save Lives?

First Aid/CPR

First Aid/CPROne-minute training sessions on how to do hands-only CPR delivered via kiosks placed in shopping malls, airports and other public places could save lives. This was the finding of new research presented at an American Heart Association (AHA) Resuscitation Science Symposium held in Dallas, TX, over the weekend.

A team from the University of Arizona came to this conclusion after carrying out a short study based around an AHA Hands-Only CPR training kiosk that was installed at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport earlier this year.

Hands-only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) does not require giving the kiss of life, which can put some people off who might otherwise be prepared to try resuscitation.

If ambulances come quickly, experts believe that instructing people to just “push hard, push fast” saves more lives. That is the idea behind the new guidelines released by the AHA in 2010 that permit the use of simpler hand-only or compression-only CPR in some cases instead of conventional CPR.

However, hands-only CPR may not be the best approach for rural or remote areas where the waiting time is more than a few minutes for an ambulance.

To read the full story, visit http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268958.php.

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

Should I Slope That Trench?

Trench Chart

If you do excavation work you know how much a trench box costs to buy or rent. But do you know how much the alternative costs?

The OSHA trenching and excavation regulations require trench boxes or other shoring to be used if the sides of the trench cannot be properly sloped. The slope depends on the kind of soil. From an excavation safety perspective there are three soil types including Type A, Type B and Type C. In almost every case the soil in Florida is Type C because of the high sand and water content.

This means that your trench or excavation must be sloped at a 34 degree angle (one and a half feet back for every foot deep). This may not seem so bad but consider this. A 5 foot deep and 3 foot wide trench would have to be sloped so that the opening would be 18 feet wide! An excavation that size takes a tremendous amount of time and energy and as a result is often done improperly.

Aside from the safety concern you might also be surprised that sloping often costs more than using trench boxes or other shoring equipment. The cost of removing soil and moving it away from the edges of a trench can be very expensive and will typically exceed the cost of boxes or shoring. This is particularly the case in long, narrow trenches (such as pipelines) where shoring and boxes can be used over and over as the trench is dug and filled but sloping requires extensive soil moving along the entire length of the trench.

For instance, the chart below compares soil removal quantities and costs for a two-mile trench that is 5 feet wide and 15 feet deep.

Trench Chart

If you want more information on trenching and excavation contact Randy Free at 407-353-8165 or email him at rfree(at)safetylinks.net

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →

New rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses is proposed by OSHA

Injured Man

Injured Man

A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in 2012, which estimates three million workers were injured on the job in 2012, has made an impact on OSHA’s proposed rulemaking.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has have recently proposed a rule to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.

“Three million injuries are three million too many,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels says. “With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.”

The proposed rule was developed following a series of stakeholder meetings in 2010 to help OSHA gather information about electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. OSHA is proposing to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904. The first proposed new requirement is for establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA.

The public has until February 6 to submit written comments on the proposed rule. Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24002 and http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html.

Continue Reading This Valuable Post →