January 28, 2019
OSHA has issued a final rule
that eliminates the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year. These establishments are still required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).
According to the Agency, by preventing routine government collection of information that may be quite sensitive, including descriptions of workers’ injuries and body parts affected, OSHA is avoiding the risk that such information might be publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This rule will better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular worker by removing the requirement for covered employers to submit their information from Forms 300 and 301. The final rule does not alter an employer’s duty to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, and OSHA will continue to obtain these forms as needed through inspections and enforcement actions.
In addition, this rule will allow OSHA to focus its resources on initiatives that its past experience has shown to be useful—including continued use of information from severe injury reports that helps target areas of concern, and seeking to fully utilize a large volume of data from Form 300A—rather than on collecting and processing information from Forms 300 and 301 with uncertain value for OSHA enforcement and compliance assistance.
The agency is also amending the recordkeeping regulation to require covered employers to electronically submit their Employer Identification Number with their information from Form 300A. The final rule’s requirement for employers to submit their EIN to OSHA electronically along with their information from OSHA Form 300A will make the data more useful for OSHA and BLS, and could reduce duplicative reporting burdens on employers in the future.
OSHA has determined that this final rule will allow OSHA to improve enforcement targeting and compliance assistance, protect worker privacy and safety, and decrease burden on employers.
Collection of Calendar Year 2018 information from the OSHA Form 300A began on January 2, 2019. The deadline for electronic submissions is March 2, 2019.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Controlling Silica in General Industry
OSHA has posted new frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the agency's standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry.
OSHA developed the FAQs
in consultation with industry and union stakeholders to provide guidance to employers and employees on the standard's requirements, such as exposure assessments, regulated areas, methods of compliance, and communicating silica hazards to employees. The questions and answers are organized by topic, and include an introductory paragraph that provides background information about the regulatory requirements.
Stay Safe When Working Outside in Cold Weather
With winter in full-swing nationwide, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued a reminder for workers whose job requires them to work outdoors in cold, wet, icy, or snowy conditions to “be prepared and be aware” to prevent cold-related illnesses and injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite.
“Exposure to cold is not just uncomfortable, it can be a potentially dangerous situation,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD. “It’s important to know how to protect yourself from cold when you must work outdoors—be prepared by wearing warm clothing and be aware that cold temperatures can lead to serious health problems.”
Anyone who has to work in a cold environment may be at risk of cold-related illnesses and injuries, or “cold stress.” Workers who may not be able to avoid working outdoors in cold weather could include police officers, snow cleanup crews, sanitation workers, farmers, construction workers, and many others. Workers face increased risks when they take certain medications, are in poor physical condition or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
For outdoor workers, what constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different parts of the country. In regions where workers are unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Whenever outdoor temperatures drop significantly below normal and wind speed increases, heat more rapidly leaves the body.
When cold environments cannot be avoided, workers should follow these recommendations to protect themselves from cold stress:
Be prepared by wearing warm clothing that is right for the weather
- Wear several layers of loose clothing; layering provides better insulation.
- Protect your ears, face, hands, and feet by wearing a hat and waterproof gloves and boots.
- Carry cold weather gear, such as extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid.
- Take breaks in warm locations, such as inside a vehicle or other sheltered or heated area.
- Workers may also need to limit their time outside on extremely cold days, so cold jobs should be scheduled for the warmest part of the day and relief workers may need to be assigned for long jobs.
- Pay attention to warning signs and symptoms of hypothermia, frostbite, and other cold-related illnesses and injuries.
- Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.
- Immediately report signs and symptoms of cold-related illnesses and injuries to a supervisor or medical personnel.
- Tell your supervisor if you are not dressed warmly enough.
These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems:
- When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.
- Early symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, confusion, or disorientation.
- Hypothermia affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well.
- Work with a buddy when possible.
- Many parts of the body are prone to frostbite, including your fingers, toes, nose, and ears. Frostbite happens when a part of the body freezes, damaging the tissue.
- Warning signs of frostbite include numbness or tingling, stinging, or pain on or near the affected body part.
- Avoid frostbite by being aware of the weather and wearing protective clothing such as warm gloves, insulated shoes, and warm hats.
- You can get trench foot when your feet are wet and cold for too long. Moisture causes your feet to lose heat, and this can slow the blood flow and damage tissue.
- Trench foot can happen when it is as warm as 60 degrees.
- Keep feet warm and dry.
The following resources can help you learn more about staying safe when working in cold:
Most Worker Deaths in NC Caused by Struck-By Accidents and Falls
Struck-by incidents and falls caused the largest number of work-related deaths in the Tar Heel state in 2018, based on preliminary information released today by the state Department of Labor. Struck-by incidents accounted for 14 work-related deaths while falls accounted for nine. There were 39 work-related fatalities that fell under the jurisdiction of the NCDOL’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Division in 2018, one less than in 2017.
The state Occupational Fatality Inspection Review (OFIR) figures exclude certain fatalities that fall outside its jurisdictional authority such as traffic accidents, which account for nearly half of all work-related deaths, as well as homicides and suicides that are investigated by law enforcement agencies. The count also excludes fatalities investigated by federal OSHA, sole proprietorships and other exemptions in which the department does not have the authority to investigate, such as on farms with 10 or fewer employees.
“Each of these individuals are valued members of North Carolina’s workforce and each death is a major blow to their families and communities,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. “It is important that we track these fatalities and create awareness of these common work-related hazards so that we can better focus our resources and work to prevent future incidents.”
The construction industry continues to be the most hazardous industry in the state with 16 work- related deaths in 2018, one less than in 2017. The N.C. Department of Labor places special emphasis on hazardous industries like construction to maximize its resources and pinpoint problem areas.
Part of the OSH Division strategy to reduce work-related fatalities includes encouraging employer and employee participation in various safety and health outreach activities. The OSH Division also works with businesses and organizations that represent some of the most hazardous industries through partnerships and alliances to heighten industry awareness and assist with education and training.
The OSH Division has participated in a federal OSHA campaign to prevent falls in construction for the past five years. This year the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls takes place May 6–10.
“It is encouraging to see a decrease in falls from 13 in 2017 to nine in 2018, and we hope this downward trend will continue,” said Kevin Beauregard, director of the NCDOL OSH Division. “I encourage all construction companies to participate in the stand-down and focus on fall prevention efforts on construction sites to help reduce these preventable deaths”
“In addition, the OSH Division will increase construction-related activity in some counties in the spring, especially those identified as having high activity or multiple fatalities,” Beauregard said.
The manufacturing industry had the second highest number of work-related deaths with eight, a decrease from 11 in 2017. Transportation and public utilities increased from one in 2017 to four in 2018. Another notable increase involved the services industry, which increased from zero to four in 2018.
Government decreased from five in 2017 to one. The wholesale trade industry decreased from one in 2017 to zero. There were no work-related fatalities in 69 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Forsyth, Guilford, Lee, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Scotland, Stokes and Wake experienced two each. Twenty- two counties experienced one fatality.
Whites accounted for 21 of the 39 work-related fatalities. Blacks accounted for eight and Hispanics for nine. There was one Native American fatality. Men accounted for 37 of the 39 deaths. Women accounted for two workplace deaths.
Federal figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with cooperation of NCDOL, include all work-related fatalities. The federal figures can be found on the BLS website at https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/tgs/2017/iiffw37.htm
. While fatalities continue to fluctuate, North Carolina’s injury and illness rate has steadily declined since 2001 and remains at a historic low 2.3 per 100 full-time workers for 2017. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles the injury and illness rate data.
Florida Roofing Contractor Cited for Exposing Employees to Dangerous Falls
OSHA has cited Ad-Ler Roofing Inc. for exposing employees to dangerous falls at a Naples residential worksite, one month after similar violations were found at another worksite. The Fort Myers, Florida-based contractor faces penalties of $91,466.
OSHA initiated the inspection on July 23, 2018, as part of the Agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction
after inspectors observed the company’s employees performing roofing activities without fall protection
. OSHA cited
Ad-Ler Roofing Inc. for failing to protect employees from fall hazards. In June 2018, the company was cited for the same fall protection hazards at an Odessa, Florida, worksite.
“Companies are required to provide employees with fall protection when they work at heights of 6 feet or higher,” said Fort Lauderdale OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond. “Ad-Ler Roofing is putting workers at risk of serious injury by failing to comply with OSHA’s fall protection standards.”
Florida Cafeteria Cited for Burn and Chemical Hazards
OSHA has cited Compass Group USA Inc. – operating as Chartwells Dining – for exposing employees to burn and chemical hazards at its cafeteria in Coral Gables, Florida. The company faces $134,880 in penalties.
Compass Group for exposing employees to hazards associated with exit routes, failing to provide suitable facilities for quick drenching for employees who work with cleaning chemicals, and for not providing effective training to the employees working with the chemicals.
“Employers are required to ensure employees who work with hazardous chemicals know the dangers associated with those chemicals and provide them with readily available facilities to minimize injuries,” said OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Office Director Condell Eastmond.
Nebraska Beef Processing Plant Cited After Employee Severely Burned by Ammonia
OSHA has cited Noah’s Ark Processors LLC — based in Hastings, Nebraska — for process safety management violations after an employee suffered severe burns caused by exposure to anhydrous ammonia, a gas used as an industrial refrigerant. The beef processing plant faces penalties of $182,926 for 16 serious safety violations.
OSHA cited the company for process safety management (PSM)
program deficiencies, failing to guard roof openings, and electrical safety and lockout/tagout violations. The PSM standard
requires employers to properly manage hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals.
"When employers fail to properly document procedures and control highly hazardous chemicals, there is the potential for unintentional releases that can result in serious and fatal injuries," said Omaha Area Director Jeff Funke. "By implementing and sustaining workplace safety and health programs, employers can monitor their processes to ensure safeguards are in place to protect workers."
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