Five Percent of Workplaces Report Worker Violence
Nearly 5% of the 7.1 million private industry business establishments in the United States had an incident of workplace violence within the 12 months prior to completing a new survey on workplace violence prevention. This is according to findings from the new survey, which was conducted for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The data were reported by BLS.
Under an interagency agreement with NIOSH, BLS surveyed employers regarding their policies and training on workplace violence prevention. Very little information previously existed regarding the policies, training, and other related issues from the employer perspective. Most workplace violence studies were from the employee’s or victim’s viewpoint.
“We appreciate the excellent work of BLS in conducting the survey with its widely respected methodology, analyzing the results, and providing new data to fill a significant gap in the existing literature,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “These new data will help us greatly in planning and conducting our ongoing research to help prevent violence in workplaces.”
Of the establishments that reported an incident of workplace violence within the 12 months prior to completing the survey, about a third reported that the incident had a negative impact on their workforce. The great majority of those establishments did not change their workplace violence prevention procedures after the incident, BLS found. Almost 9% of those establishments had no program or policy addressing workplace violence.
Findings from the survey are reported in detail on the BLS website. BLS said it plans to provide additional tables and charts on this site in the future.
This voluntary survey provides estimates of the number of establishments and employees covered by a workplace violence prevention program or policy. The survey also collected data on the characteristics of the program or policy at the establishment; types of training on workplace violence and topics covered; whether an incident of workplace violence had occurred in the last 12 months; and whether establishments collect the costs associated with workplace violence. The survey was designed to allow characterization of how the issue of workplace violence is addressed in U.S. workplaces and to provide researchers with information to develop educational interventions to improve workplace safety.
OSHA Fines Battery Manufacturer Almost $59,000 for Exposing Employees to Explosive Chemical Hazards
Electrochem, Inc. faces nearly $59,000 in fines from OSHA for workplace hazards at its Canton, Mass., plant. The company was cited for 27 alleged serious violations of safety and health standards following an OSHA inspection that began April 26, after a battery explosion burned an employee.
"Plant workers were exposed to fire and explosion hazards, as well as numerous other hazards related to the processes involved in the manufacture of batteries," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director in Braintree, Mass. "Employers in this industry should be well aware of the inherent dangers to employees and should be taking every possible precaution to protect them from such exposures."
The OSHA inspection resulted in proposed penalties of $58,950 being issued to Electrochem for alleged serious violations of safety and health standards. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Many of the citations involve OSHA's standard covering the process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals. For example, the company is charged with not developing a compilation of process safety information on the hazardous chemicals, the technology, and the process equipment in battery manufacturing, as well as failing to perform an initial hazard evaluation of the process.
The employer is also charged with failing to develop written operating procedures and failing to properly train employees involved in manufacturing. Several citations concern deficiencies in the company's emergency response program and in the personal protective equipment supplied to employees, such as respirators.
OSHA Renews Alliance with Nebraska Grain and Feed Assn. for Safety and Health in Grain Handling Industry
An alliance to protect workers from exposure to hazards in the grain handling industry was renewed Oct. 11 between the OSHA and the Nebraska Grain and Feed Association. The alliance also involves Nebraska Workforce Development and the Nebraska State Fire Marshal's Office.
OSHA Health and Safety alliances are part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of workers. OSHA alliances provide an opportunity to participate in a cooperative relationship with OSHA for purposes such as training and education, outreach and communication, and promoting a national dialogue on workplace safety and health.
"At the time of its initial signing, this alliance was the first of its kind in the Midwest grain handling, storage and warehousing industry and the third such cooperative program nationwide," said Charles E. Adkins, CIH, OSHA regional administrator in Kansas City.
"We are pleased to see continued interest in this effort, and the State Fire Marshal's Office should prove to be an extremely valuable addition," Adkins said.
The alliance will provide information, guidance and access to training resources to protect the health and safety of grain handling employees. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the OSHA area office in Omaha at (402) 553-0171.
Since 2001, OSHA has created more than 160 alliances with organizations committed to fostering safety and health in the workplace. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
OSHA Signs Health and Safety Partnership with K.C. Masonry Contractors and Missouri Consultation Program
OSHA, the Kansas City Masonry Contractors Association (KCMCA), and the Missouri On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program have signed a partnership to promote safe and healthful working conditions within the masonry industry.
"This agreement offers incentives to KCMCA member-employers in the Kansas City area and throughout Missouri, to meet OSHA standards and protect workers," said Charles E. Adkins, CIH, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "Employers participating in the program will be expected to incorporate masonry safety and health core elements in all phases of construction."
The partnership also will provide incentives to participating employers who voluntarily improve their safety and health performance and demonstrate they have an effective safety and health program.
Participants in the partnership must be engaged in masonry construction and be a member of the KCMCA. They must agree to provide written safety and health programs, training records, and injury and illness records to the partnership's steering committee; and have no fatalities or catastrophes that resulted in accident-related serious citations being issued within the past year. Participants also must have no willful violations or repeated serious violations issued within the past two years and must have implemented a fall protection program.
The partnership goals include reducing the number and severity of injuries, illnesses and fatalities for employees of participating contractors; increasing the number of member-employers who implement effective safety and health training; developing criteria for a model safety and health program; and making safety and health resources available to all member-employers of the KCMCA.
Program participants in good standing will not receive citations for other-than-serious violations from OSHA, provided that the violation is abated during the inspection. Participants will be eligible to receive the maximum reductions allowed for good faith, size and history for penalties assessed for serious OSHA citations, and will be eligible to receive available incentives based upon safety improvements made as a result of this program.
The partnership program will cover Missouri and will be in effect for three years, after which the Kansas City and St. Louis OSHA area offices, the Missouri Consultation Program, and the KCMCA will make a joint determination about continuing it.
OSHA, American Heart Association Continue Alliance
The sharing of information about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AED) programs highlights OSHA's successful alliance with the American Heart Association (AHA), and has resulted in a two-year renewal of the agreement.
Edwin J. Foulke Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said: "Working with the AHA has already benefited countless workplaces in both the establishment and improvement of workplace wellness programs. It is vital that we continue this life-saving alliance with AHA and draw on the expertise of their members to help reduce death and disability from heart disease and stroke."
Added M. Cass Wheeler, AHA's Chief Executive Officer: "We're pleased to continue working with OSHA to build awareness for CPR training and comprehensive AED programs. Through our work with OSHA, we have gained valuable insights about employers' CPR and AED training needs, which we've used to create new courses with more flexible formats."
The OSHA and AHA alliance will continue to focus on heart disease and stroke in the workplace and the development of information for individuals with limited English proficiency.
OSHA and AHA recently updated two resource tools: “Commit to Saving Lives,” an overview of CPR and AED programs, and the “AED Program Implementation Guide,” which provides worksites with key elements and strategies for effective AED programs. AHA representatives continue to work with OSHA on the agency’s web-based safety and health topics pages and eTools, including Automated External Defibrillators, Medical and First Aid and AEDs in the Workplace.
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