August 13, 2018
Safe + sound week
is a nationwide event, sponsored by OSHA, NIOSH, and many other organizations to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs that include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.
Organizations of any size or in any industry looking for an opportunity to show their commitment to safety to workers, customers, the public, or supply chain partners are encouraged to participate. Select an activity in which you’d like to participate at this link
Hazardous Waste Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations. Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training
is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training
, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD10 tablet at no extra charge.
Compliance Dates for Beryllium Standard Extended
OSHA has extended
the compliance date to December 12, 2018, for some of the provisions of the beryllium rule for general industry. The extension applies to provisions related to methods of compliance, beryllium work areas, regulated areas, personal protective clothing and equipment, hygiene areas and practices, housekeeping, communication of hazards, and recordkeeping.
The new permissible exposure limits (PELs) for general industry, construction, and shipyards or the general industry provisions for exposure assessment, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, and medical removal, which OSHA began enforcing on May 11, 2018, have not been changed by the compliance date extension. This final rule also does not affect the March 11, 2019, compliance date for the provisions on change rooms and showers or the March 10, 2020, compliance date for implementation of engineering controls.
OSHA determined that the compliance date changes will maintain essential safety and health protections for workers while OSHA prepares a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to clarify specific provisions of the beryllium standard in accordance with a settlement agreement entered into with stakeholders. The revisions that OSHA plans to propose are designed to enhance worker protections by ensuring that the rule is well-understood and compliance is simple and straightforward.
Reading Work Email Off-Hours Can be Bad for Worker Health
William Becker, a Virginia Tech associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business, co-authored a new study, “Killing me softly: electronic communications monitoring and employee and significant-other well-being,” showing that such expectations result in anxiety, which adversely affects the health of employees and their families.
“The competing demands of work and nonwork lives present a dilemma for employees,” Becker said, “which triggers feelings of anxiety and endangers work and personal lives.” Other studies have shown that the stress of increased job demands leads to strain and conflict in family relationships when the employee is unable to fulfill nonwork roles at home — “such as when someone brings work home to finish up.”
Their study, he said, demonstrates that employees do not need to spend actual time on work in their off-hours to experience the harmful effects. The mere expectations of availability increase strain for employees and their significant others — even when employees do not engage in actual work during nonwork time.
Unlike work-related demands that deplete employee resources, physical and psychological, by requiring time away from home, “the insidious impact of ‘always on’ organizational culture is often unaccounted for or disguised as a benefit — increased convenience, for example, or higher autonomy and control over work-life boundaries,” Becker said.
“Our research exposes the reality: ‘flexible work boundaries’ often turn into ‘work without boundaries,’ compromising an employee’s and their family’s health and well-being.” As negative health outcomes are costly to them, what can employers do to mitigate the adverse effects identified by the study? Becker said policies that reduce expectations to monitor electronic communication outside of work would be ideal. When that is not an option, the solution may be to establish boundaries on when electronic communication is acceptable during off-hours by setting up off-hour email windows or schedules when employees are available to respond.
Additionally, he said, organizational expectations should be communicated clearly. “If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated formally as a part of job responsibilities.” Knowing these expectations upfront may reduce anxiety in employees and increase understanding from their family members, he said.
As for employees, they could consider practicing mindfulness, which has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety, Becker said. Mindfulness may help employees “be present” in family interactions, which could help reduce conflict and improve relationship satisfaction. And, he added, mindfulness is within the employee’s control when email expectations are not.
Becker, whose research interests include work emotion, turnover, organizational neuroscience, and leadership, is based at Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region campus in metro Washington, D.C. His study was co-authored with Liuba Y. Belkin, of Lehigh University; Samantha A. Conroy, of Colorado State University; and Sarah Tuskey, a Virginia Tech Ph.D. student in executive business research.
“Employees today must navigate more complex boundaries between work and family than ever before,” said Becker. “Employer expectations during nonwork hours appear to increase this burden, as employees feel an obligation to shift roles throughout their nonwork time.
“Efforts to manage these expectations are more important than ever, given our findings that employees’ families are also affected by these expectations.”
Alabama Auto Dealership Fined Following Fatal Fire
OSHA and Carl Cannon Inc., an automobile dealership, have reached a settlement agreement to resolve citations and penalties issued after five employees were injured, three fatally, in a fire at the company's Jasper, Alabama, facility. The company will pay $114,074 in penalties.
OSHA's investigation determined that the fire occurred as employees used a flammable brake wash to scrub the service pit floor. OSHA cited the company for failing to implement all elements of a chemical hazard communication program, improperly storing flammable liquids, and allowing the use of unapproved electrical receptacles and equipment in a hazardous area. As part of the settlement
, which became final on Aug. 1, 2018, the company agreed to correct the hazards, provide the required abatement documentation, and comply with safety and health standards.
"This settlement serves as a commitment by the employer to abate identified workplace hazards, and ensure continuous compliance with OSHA safety standards to prevent a tragedy such as this from recurring," said OSHA Birmingham Area Office Director Ramona Morris.
Tennessee Contractor After Two Employees Burned at Nuclear Power Plant
OSHA has cited Day & Zimmerman NPS Inc. for exposing employees to electric shock hazards at the Tennessee Valley Authority Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. The company faces $71,599 in proposed penalties.
Two employees pulling electrical cable suffered burns from an arc flash. OSHA cited the Chattanooga-based company for failing to require that employees wear protective clothing and equipment; conduct pre-job briefings with employees on energy source controls; removal of a ground and test device; and allow potential for residual electrical energy to accumulate.
"These serious injuries could have been prevented if the company had implemented effective work practices to reduce the risk of electric shock hazards," said OSHA Nashville Area Office Director William Cochran.
Pennsylvania Crane Manufacturer for Exposing Employees to Safety Hazards After Fatal Crane Collapse
OSHA has cited Grove U.S. LLC
for exposing workers to struck-by hazards after three employees suffered fatal injuries when a 300-ton crane collapsed at the company’s Shady Grove, Pennsylvania, facility. The company faces proposed penalties totaling $14,976, the maximum amount allowed.
OSHA’s investigation of the global crane manufacturer’s facility determined that the company placed employee work facilities too close to the crane testing area where they were in danger of being struck in a failure incident.
“This tragedy could have been avoided if the employer had assessed workplace hazards, and used effective safety procedures to protect employees from serious and fatal injuries,” said OSHA Harrisburg Area Office Director David Olah.
New CBRN Respiratory Protection Handbook Available from NIOSH
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a new Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Respiratory Protection Handbook
. This handbook fills the need for authoritative technical information on CBRN respiratory protective devices. The information will assist users in the selection, use, and maintenance of CBRN respirators and will be particularly useful to individuals responsible for administering respiratory protection programs and/or developing training programs.
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