Friday, December 30, 2011

Fall protection on aerial lifts during construction activities

August 22, 2011
Directorate of Construction
SUBJECT: Fall protection on aerial lifts during construction activities.

On January 14, 2009, OSHA issued a letter of interpretation regarding the use of a particular shock absorbing lanyard to satisfy the requirements found in §1926.453(b)(2)(v). The Directorate of Construction has received inquires from regional offices, area offices, and the public asking if the January 2009 letter banned the lanyard in question.

OSHA did not ban the particular lanyard but stated, based on the manufacturer's instructions, which stipulated a minimum anchor point height of 18.5 feet, that it was likely that the lanyard's use would not comply with OSHA standards at lower heights.

In such cases, use of the lanyard below 18.5 feet would apparently not provide adequate fall protection. This determination has raised questions about the use of body harnesses, typically married with appropriate lanyards, for fall protection in aerial lifts. To help avoid any confusion on the issue, DOC is rescinding the January 2009 letter, #20070823-7896.

Under subpart L, employers must ensure that employees tie off at all times when working from an aerial lift [§1926.453(b)(2)(v)]. Employers must ensure that employees using personal fall arrest systems while working on aerial lifts at heights six feet or more above a lower level comply with §1926.502(d) of subpart M, specifically:

Personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, shall:
(iii) be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level. [§1926.502(d)(16)(iii)]

However, §1926.502(d) does not require employers to comply with manufacturer's instructions when using personal fall arrest systems. To cite §1926.502(d)(16)(iii), the facts must show that the personal fall arrest system would permit a free fall of more than six feet or would permit contact with a lower level - and not base this conclusion solely on information provided by the manufacturer.

As has been the Agency's longstanding policy, an employer may comply with OSHA's fall protection requirements for aerial lifts in one of three ways:

  1. Use of a body belt with a tether anchored to the boom or basket (fall restraint system),
  2. Use of a body harness with a tether (fall restraint system), or
  3. Use of a body harness with a lanyard (fall arrest system).

National Safety Compliance has produced an excellent Aerial & Scissor Lift Safety Training Video Program to ensure your compliance with OSHA's regulations. In conjunction with this Aerial & Scissor Lift Safety Program, NSC has also produced a Fall Protection Safety Training Video Program.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Employers get help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program: Worker safety and health improves

With a small business where workers risk both falls and dangerous chemical exposures, the owners of Tri-State Building Services LLC decided to call OSHA for help. The results, Tri-State improved their safety and health management programs through working with the New York State Department of Labor's (NYDOL) On-site Consultation Program. "It seemed like a no-brainer. Why not take advantage of the nation's top authority on safety?" said Dave and Jim Grady, co-owners of the upstate New York cleaning and property maintenance company.

Tri State contacted OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program, which provides small business workplaces with assistance in identifying and correcting workplace safety and health hazards, as well as guidance on improving their injury and illness prevention program. Thanks to OSHA's visit, Tri-State has made significant safety and health improvements, including purchasing and installing eye wash stations, properly labeling equipment and chemicals, and enhancing the company's safety manuals. The company has also increased efforts to communicate safety and health information to Spanish speaking workers and to provide training to all workers on topics including scaffolding, aerial lifts, window cleaning, and general construction. The results can be seen in their injury rates which are significantly lower than the industry averages.

"To maintain a safety and health environment, Tri-State has learned to train, re-train, and reinforce. The company examines their safety and health management program constantly by re-evaluating and modifying their overall existing program, searching for improvement," said Grady. "The On-site Consultation visits have helped the organization to enforce its safety and health expectations by encouraging Tri-State's employees to be safety conscious throughout the entire organization." See the online success story for more information.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Employer options after an OSHA Citation has been given.

As an employer who has been cited, you may take either of the following courses of action:
  • If you agree to the Citation and Notification of Penalty, you must correct the condition by the date set in the citation and pay the penalty, if one is proposed.
  • If you do not agree, you have 15 working days from the date you receive the citation to contest in writing any or all of the following:
    • Citation;
    • Proposed penalty; and/or
    • Abatement date.
Before deciding to contest the citation, you may request an informal conference with the OSHA area director within the 15 working day period to discuss any issues related to the Citation and Notification of Penalty. (See the following section on Informal Conference and Settlement).

OSHA will inform the affected employee representatives of the informal conference or contest.

Before Deciding to Contest

Before deciding whether to file a Notice of Intent to Contest, you may request an informal conference with the OSHA area director to discuss the Citation and Notification of Penalty. You may use this opportunity to do any of the following:
  • Obtain a better explanation of the violations cited;
  • Obtain a more complete understanding of the specific standards that apply;
  • Negotiate and enter into an informal settlement agreement;
  • Discuss ways to correct violations;
  • Discuss issues concerning proposed penalties;
  • Discuss proposed abatement dates;
  • Resolve disputed citations and penalties, (thereby eliminating the need for themore formal procedures associated with litigation before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission); and
  • Obtain answers to any other questions you may have.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Federal OSHA Citation:Posting Requirements

When you receive a Citation and Notification of Penalty, you must post the citation (or a copy of it)at or near the place where each violation occurred to make employees aware of the hazards to which they may be exposed. The citation must remain posted in a place where employees can see it, for three working days or until the violation is corrected, whichever is longer. (Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays are not counted as working days.) You must comply with these posting requirements even if you contest the citation.

The abatement certification documents – such as abatement certifications, abatement plans and progress reports – also must be posted at or near the place where the violation occurred. For moveable equipment found to be in violation and where the posting of violations would be difficult or impractical, the employer has the option to identify the equipment with a “Warning” tag specified in the abatement verification regulation, Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)1903.19(i).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of Labor recently renewed the council's charter for another two years.

FACOSH advises the Secretary of Labor on matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. This includes providing advice on how to reduce and keep to a minimum the number of injuries and illnesses in the federal workforce and how to encourage federal agencies to establish and maintain effective occupational safety and health programs.

The tentative agenda includes a report and recommendation from the Emerging Issues Subcommittee regarding its analysis of Permissible Exposure Limits applicable to Federal agencies; Training Subcommittee report and recommendations update; Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment (POWER) end-of-year report; and Strategic Planning for charter period 2011 – 2013.

The meeting will be held 2 - 4:30 p.m. in Room N-3437 A/B/C, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210. Comments and requests to speak may be submitted electronically at, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted via mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by Nov. 25, 2011.

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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Top 10 OSHA Violations 2011

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) revealed its 10 most commonly violated regulations so far this year. OSHA revealed this list at the recent National Safety Council Expo in Philadelphia, PA at a live presentation. The list did not significantly change since 2010, in fact, the same 10 regulations are on the list, but the order changed slightly. The most notable is that Fall Protection has moved to #1 and Scaffolding dropped to #2. The complete list is as follows:
  1. Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501)
  2. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451)
  3. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  4. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
  5. Lockout/Tagout-Control of Hazardous Energy (29 CFR 1910.147)
  6. Electrical - wiring methods, components and equipment for general use (29 CFR 1910.305)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
  8. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053)
  9. Electrical - general (29 CFR 1910.303)
  10. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

OSHA publishes updated Workers' Rights publication

Worker Protection is the Law of the Land
You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH
Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or otherwise harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSH Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to employers and workers.

Workers’ Rights under the OSH Act
The OSH Act gives workers the right to safe and healthful working conditions. It is the duty of employers to provide workplaces that are free of known dangers that could harm their employees. This law also gives workers important rights to participate in activities to ensure their protection from job hazards. This booklet explains workers’ rights to:
  • File a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected.
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be done in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace.
  • Receive copies of the results from tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in the workplace.
  • Get copies of their workplace medical records.
  • Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector.
  • File a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated or discriminated against by their
    employer as the result of requesting an inspection or using any of their other rights under the OSH Act.
  • File a complaint if punished or discriminated against for acting as a “whistleblower” under the additional 20 federal statutes for which OSHA has jurisdiction.
A job must be safe or it cannot be called a good job. OSHA strives to make sure that every worker in the nation goes home unharmed at the end of the workday, the most important right of all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fire Safety and Prevention

October 9 - 15, 2011 is Fire Prevention Week.  

Each year in the United States, 70 to 80,000 workplaces experience a serious fire.  On average, an estimated 200 employees are killed by fire related incidents a year with an estimated 5,000 employees sustaining fire related injuries.  Fires in the workplace result in over two billion dollars in property damage and loss.  Recent studies reveal that only 15% of workplace fires are a result of catastrophic failure or equipment. This leaves a staggering 85% of accidental fires started due to human error and behavior.

Some common causes of workplace fires include:
  • Electrical – neglect and misuse of wiring and electrical appliances, especially space heaters.
  • Chemical – including gasoline, fuels, paints, solvents and manufacturing chemicals.
  • Hot Works - welding, torching or other tasks that emit sparks.
  • Housekeeping – accumulation of garbage in work or storage areas and improper storage of flammable substances.
  • Smoking – discarded cigarettes or smoking in inappropriate areas
Employers should install fire and smoke alarms throughout the workplace.  Alarms should be checked regularly for proper operation.  Appropriate fire extinguishers should also be placed throughout the workplace in accordance to local, state and federal rules and guidelines.  Employees should be trained on procedures to follow should an alarm sound, exit locations, and the proper use of fire extinguishers.  Fire exits should be properly identified and must never be blocked or locked. Fire doors must never be propped open either as this will cause a fire to spread faster bringing more damage and a greater chance of harm to the employees. 

Although employers are only required to have a Fire Prevention Plan and/or an Emergency Action Plan when the applicable OSHA standard requires it, OSHA strongly recommends that all employers have both. Guidelines for a Fire Protection Plan can be found in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.39 and guidelines for an Emergency Action Plan can be found in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.38

 By being proactive and having a simple fire prevention plan and program in your workplace, you can greatly reduce the risks of having a fire in your place of employment. In addition, with a simple emergency plan as well as proper detection and fire extinguishers, you can greatly reduce the chances of injury or serious loss should a fire occur.

Be smart. Be safe. Train your employees about Fire Safety.

Order your Fire Safety Training Kit this month (OCT. 2011)  and receive 10% off your total purchase with coupon code BB4584.

By National Safety Compliance, Inc. your source for OSHA compliance training kits, MSDS, Labor Law & Motivation Posters, LOTO and more. Check us out at  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements Proposed Rule

OSHA's current regulation at Section 1904.2 partially exempts certain lower-hazard industries classified in Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes 52 through 89 from injury and illness recordkeeping requirements. Lower hazard industries are those industries with an average Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rate at or below 75 percent of the national average DART rate. The DART rate represents the total non-fatal injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, and/or job transfer per 100 full-time employees for a given period of time (usually 1 year). The current list of partially exempt industries, which is included in Appendix A to Subpart B, is based on injury and illness data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 1997, 1998 and 1999.

OSHA is proposing to revise the list of partially exempt industries in Appendix A using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The revised list in proposed Appendix A is based on DART rates compiled by BLS for 2007, 2008 and 2009. Industries listed in proposed Appendix A would still be required to keep records if requested to do so by BLS in connection with its Annual Survey (29 CFR 1904.42), or by OSHA in connection with its Data Initiative (29 CFR 1904.41).

OSHA is also proposing to revise Section 1904.39, which currently requires an employer to report to OSHA, within eight hours, all work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. The proposed rule would require an employer to report to OSHA, within eight hours, all work-related fatalities and all work-related in-patient hospitalizations; and within 24 hours, all work-related amputations.

This regulation was developed in accordance with the principles of Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563. Executive Order 12866 requires that OSHA estimate the benefits, costs, and net benefits of proposed regulations. The Agency estimates the regulation will cost approximately $8.5 million, on an annualized basis. As discussed elsewhere in this preamble, the Agency believes the annual benefits, while unquantified, are significantly in excess of the annual costs.

Visit us online for more information about OSHA recordkeeping requirements and other OSHA Publications.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2010

WASHINGTON – Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released today show little change in the number of workplace fatalities in 2010 compared with 2009. Last year, 4,547 workers died from work-related injuries, down from a final count of 4,551 fatal work injuries in 2009. In response, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement:

"No worker should have to sacrifice his or her life to earn a living.

"An average 12 workers die on the job every day, and that reality continues to drive the work of the Labor Department. When the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the National Safety Council estimated that 14,000 workers died each year on the job. Now, with a workforce that has doubled in size, the annual number of fatalities has dropped significantly. But it's not enough. We cannot relent from our enforcement of laws that keep our nation's workers safe. One worker killed or injured on the job is one too many.

"As our economy continues to strengthen and the workforce expands, we at the Department of Labor will remain resolute in our mission to ensure that safety is not sacrificed as America's workers provide for themselves and their families. My constant focus is 'good jobs for everyone,' and safety is an essential part of that equation."

Visit us online for your OSHA Safety Compliance Training.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

OSHA Safety Sign Requirements

OSHA has published several guidelines for workplace safety signs. Here are some of the main points that our defined in the OSHA 29 CFR regulations:

These specifications apply to the design, application, and use of signs or symbols (as included in paragraphs (c) through (e) of this section) intended to indicate and, insofar as possible, to define specific hazards of a nature such that failure to designate them may lead to accidental injury to workers or the public, or both, or to property damage. These specifications are intended to cover all safety signs except those designed for streets, highways, railroads, and marine regulations. These specifications do not apply to plant bulletin boards or to safety posters.

All new signs and replacements of old signs shall be in accordance with these specifications.

Definitions. As used in this section, the word "sign" refers to a surface on prepared for the warning of, or safety instructions of, industrial workers or members of the public who may be exposed to hazards. Excluded from this definition, however, are news releases, displays commonly known as safety posters, and bulletins used for employee education.

Danger Signs
There shall be no variation in the type of design of signs posted to warn of specific dangers and radiation hazards. All employees shall be instructed that danger signs indicate immediate danger and that special precautions are necessary. Danger signs are to be colors red, black, and white.

Here are some examples of OSHA "Danger" Signs.

Caution Signs
Caution signs shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. All employees shall be instructed that caution signs indicate a possible hazard against which proper precaution should be taken. Standard color of the background shall be yellow; and the panel, black with yellow letters. Any letters used against the yellow background shall be black.

Here are some examples of OSHA "Caution" Signs.

Safety Instruction Signs
Safety instruction signs shall be used where there is a need for general instructions and suggestions relative to safety measures. Standard color of the background shall be white; and the panel, green with white letters. Any letters used against the white background shall be black.

Here are some examples of OSHA "Safety Instruction" Signs.

Notice Signs
OSHA does not formally recognize "Notice" signs. However, when appropriate, workplaces commonly use safety "Notice" signs. These are commonly blue, black and white in color.

Here are some examples of safety "Notice" Signs.

General OSHA Requirements for Workplace Safety Signage
The wording of any sign should be easily read and concise. The sign should contain sufficient information to be easily understood. The wording should make a positive, rather than negative suggestion and should be accurate in fact. All signs shall be furnished with rounded or blunt corners and shall be free from sharp edges, burrs, splinters, or other sharp projections. The ends or heads of bolts or other fastening devices shall be located in such a way that they do not constitute a hazard.

Monday, March 28, 2011

OSHA Safety Signs

In an effort to provide a comprehensive solution for workplace safety signs, National Safety Compliance has developed this new website to make these signs available. If you are needing "Danger", "Caution", "Notice" or parking signs, then this website will likely have the sign you need at an affordable price.

Please visit: OSHA Safety Signs

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

OSHA Recordkeeping Enforcement

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is initiating a national emphasis program (NEP) on recordkeeping to assess the accuracy of injury and illness data recorded by employers.

The recordkeeping NEP involves inspecting occupational injury and illness records prepared by businesses and appropriately enforcing regulatory requirements when employers are found to be under-recording injuries and illnesses.

"Accurate and honest recordkeeping is vitally important to workers' health and safety," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab. "This information is not only used by OSHA to determine which workplaces to inspect, but it is an important tool employers and workers can use to identify health and safety problems in their workplaces."

The inspections include a records review, employee interviews, and a limited safety and health inspection of the workplace. The NEP will focus on selected industries with high injury and illness rates.

At the request of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committee on Education and Labor, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a study on the accuracy of employer injury and illness records. This NEP will help OSHA work cooperatively with the GAO. It also complements the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) efforts to investigate factors accounting for differences between the number of workplace injuries and illnesses estimated by BLS and those estimated by other data sources.

For more information about OSHA recordkeeping requirements, please visit this page of items available from National Safety Compliance: OSHA Recordkeeping

Monday, February 14, 2011

The OSHA Consultation Program

Using a free consultation service funded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspection.
The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff. Consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available. However, consultations cannot take place during an enforcement inspection, and may not take place until citations, if any, have been issued and become final orders.

Primarily targeted for smaller, high-hazard businesses, OSHA’s safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. In addition, no citations are issued or penalties proposed.

Confidentiality will be strictly maintained during the consultation process. The consultant will only report hazard information to OSHA if the employer fails to correct an imminent danger or serious hazards.

The employer’s only obligation will be to commit to correcting serious job safety and health hazards – a commitment which is expected to be made prior to the actual visit and carried out in a timely manner.

Getting Started
Since consultation is a voluntary activity, employers must request it. A telephone call or letter sets the consulting machinery in motion. The consultant will discuss specific needs with the employer and set up a visit based on the priority assigned to the request, the employer’s work schedule, and the time needed for the consultant to prepare for the visit. OSHA encourages a complete review of a firm's safety and health situation; however, an employer may limit the visit to specific problems. Certain obligations must be met, including agreeing to correct all serious hazards found during the visit in an agreed-upon time frame.

The On-Site Consultants Will:
• Meet with the employer and, at times, employees or employee representatives;
• Walk-through the worksite with the employer and employees;
• Review company injury and illness rates;
• Help identify hazards in the workplace;
• Identify kinds of help available for further assistance;
• Give detailed findings in a closing conference;
• Provide a written report summarizing findings;
• Assist the development or maintenance of an effective safety and health program;
• Provide training and education for the employer and employees;
• Recommend the site for a one-year exemption from OSHA programmed inspections, when SHARP criteria are met.

In rare instances, the consultant may find an “imminent danger” situation during the walk-through. If so, the employer must take immediate action to protect all employees. Other situations – those which would be judged a serious violation under OSHA criteria – require the employer and the consultant to develop a plan and schedule to eliminate or control the hazard.

The On-Site Consultants Will Not:
• Issue citations or propose penalties for violations of OSHA standards;
• Report possible violations to OSHA enforcement staff;
• Guarantee that your workplace will “pass” an OSHA inspection.

Hazard Correction and Follow-Through
The consultant will send to the company a detailed written report about 20 days after the closing conference that explains the findings and confirms agreed upon correction periods. A list of hazards is included in the report and must be posted electronically or in an easily observable area by employees for three days or until the listed hazards are corrected. Consultants may also contact the business from time to time to check progress, and employers may always contact them for assistance. Employers using the consultation service are deferred from OSHA’s scheduled inspections while the consultation remains “in progress.” This period encompasses the time between the onset of the consultation and the final correction dates, including any extensions.

Ultimately, OSHA does require hazard correction so that each consultation visit achieves its objective – effective employee protection. If there is a failure to eliminate or control identified serious hazards (or an imminent danger) according to the plan and within the limits agreed upon, the situation is referred from consultation to an OSHA enforcement office for appropriate action.

Knowledge of workplace hazards and ways to eliminate them can only improve the company’s
operations – and the management of the firm. Employers receive professional advice and assistance on eliminating or preventing workplace hazards via the on-site hazard survey or the on-site training from the consultant. The consultant can help establish or strengthen an employee safety and health program, making safety and health activities routine considerations rather than crisis oriented responses. Improving workplace safety and health also brings fewer accidents, lower injury and illness rates, decreased workers’ compensation costs, and limits product losses. Consultations will also help the entire company comply with OSHA standards.

Employers may participate in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) or a similar state program. This program is designed to provide incentives and support to employers to develop, implement and continuously improve effective safety and health programs at their worksite(s). SHARP provides for recognition of employers who have demonstrated exemplary achievements in workplace safety and health by receiving a comprehensive safety and health consultation visit, correcting all workplace safety and health hazards, adopting and implementing effective safety and health management systems, and agreeing to request further consultative visits if major changes in working conditions or processes occur which may introduce new hazards. Employers who meet these specific SHARP requirements may be exempted from OSHA programmed inspections for a period not less than one year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is designed to protect workers from serious workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Besides face shields, safety glasses, hard hats, and safety shoes, protective equipment includes a variety of devices and garments such as goggles,coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs, and respirators.

Employer Responsibilities

OSHA’s primary personal protective equipment standards are in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1910 Subpart I, and equivalent regulations in states with OSHA approved state plans, but you can find protective equipment requirements elsewhere in the General Industry Standards. For example, 29 CFR 1910.156, OSHA’s Fire Brigades Standard, has requirements for firefighting gear. In addition, 29 CFR 1926.95-106 covers the construction industry. OSHA’s general personal protective equipment requirements mandate that employers conduct a hazard assessment of their workplaces to determine what hazards are present that require the use of protective equipment, provide workers with appropriate protective equipment, and require them to use and maintain it in sanitary and reliable condition.

Using personal protective equipment is often essential, but it is generally the last line of defense after engineering controls, work practices, and administrative controls. Engineering controls involve physically changing a machine or work environment. Administrative controls involve changing how or when workers do their jobs, such as scheduling work and rotating workers to reduce exposures. Work practices involve training workers how to perform tasks in ways that reduce their exposure to workplace hazards.

As an employer, you must assess your workplace to determine if hazards are present that require the use of personal protective equipment. If such hazards are present, you must select protective equipment and require workers to use it, communicate your protective equipment selection decisions to your workers, and select personal protective equipment that properly fits your workers.

You must also conduct PPE training to train workers who are required to wear personal protective equipment on how to do the following:
• Use protective equipment properly,
• Be aware of when personal protective equipment is necessary,
• Know what kind of protective equipment is necessary,
• Understand the limitations of personal protective equipment in protecting workers from injury,
• Put on, adjust, wear, and take off personal protective equipment, and
• Maintain protective equipment properly.

Protection from Head Injuries
Hard hats can protect your workers from head impact, penetration injuries, and electrical injuries such as those caused by falling or flying objects, fixed objects, or contact with electrical conductors. Also, OSHA regulations require employers to ensure that workers cover and protect long hair to prevent it from getting caught in machine parts such as belts and chains.

Protection from Foot and Leg Injuries
In addition to foot guards and safety shoes, leggings (e.g., leather, aluminized rayon, or other appropriate material) can help prevent injuries by protecting workers from hazards such as falling or rolling objects, sharp objects, wet and slippery surfaces, molten metals, hot surfaces, and electrical hazards.

Protection from Eye and Face Injuries
Besides safety glasses and goggles, personal protective equipment such as special helmets or shields, spectacles with side shields, and faceshields can protect workers from the hazards of flying fragments, large chips, hot sparks,optical radiation, splashes from molten metals, as well as objects, particles, sand, dirt, mists, dusts, and glare.

Protection from Hearing Loss
Wearing earplugs or earmuffs can help prevent damage to hearing. Exposure to high noise levels can cause irreversible hearing loss or impairment as well as physical and psychological stress. Earplugs made from foam, waxed cotton, or fiberglass wool are self-forming and usually fit well. A professional should fit your workers individually for molded or preformed earplugs. Clean earplugs regularly, and replace those you cannot clean.

Protection from Hand Injuries
Workers exposed to harmful substances through skin absorption, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, chemical burns, thermal burns, and harmful temperature extremes will benefit from hand protection.

Protection from Body Injury
In some cases workers must shield most or all of their bodies against hazards in the workplace, such as exposure to heat and radiation as well as hot metals, scalding liquids, body fluids, hazardous materials or waste, and other hazards. In addition to fire-retardant wool and fire-retardant cotton, materials used in whole-body personal protective equipment include rubber, leather, synthetics, and plastic.

When to Wear Respiratory Protection
When engineering controls are not feasible, workers must use appropriate respirators to protect against adverse health effects caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors. Respirators generally cover the nose and mouth or the entire face or head and help prevent illness and injury. A proper fit is essential, however, for respirators to be effective. Required respirators must be NIOSH-approved and medical evaluation and respirator training must be provided before use.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What to do with a Job Injury or Illness

OSHA Requirements When a Worker Experiences a Job-Related Injury or Illness

Over the past three decades, occupational injuries and illnesses in the U.S. have
declined by 42 percent, even though employment has more than doubled. Nevertheless, every year, nearly five million workers experience an occupational injury or illness on the job. More than half of these injuries and illnesses are severe enough to cause the worker to spend time away from work. OSHA, along with safety and health professionals around the nation, is working with employers and employees to move toward zero injuries and illnesses in U.S. workplaces. And the agency will not be satisfied until every worker in America goes home safe and sound each day.

Reporting Catastrophes
When a worker is killed on the job and/or three or more workers are hospitalized, the employer covered by OSHA must report to the agency within eight hours. Fatal heart attacks also must be reported. Employers can call the nearest OSHA area office or the agency’s toll-free number 800-321-OSHA (6742) to provide this information.

Providing First Aid
Employers who can not reach a hospital, infirmary or clinic within a reasonable amount of time must be prepared to provide first aid to workers who experience injuries or illnesses on the job. OSHA requires that adequate first aid supplies must be readily available and that someone must be adequately trained to render first aid.

The agency also encourages employers to consider acquiring automated external defibrillators (AEDs)—medical devices designed to revive victims of sudden cardiac arrest. These devices analyze a victim’s heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to restore heart rhythm to normal. Battery-operated AEDs are compact, lightweight, portable, safe and easy to use. Having them onsite can save precious time and improve survival odds because they can be used before emergency medical service personnel arrive.

Recording Injuries and Illnesses
Most employers in high hazard industries are required to keep records of injuries and illnesses experienced by their employees. An annual summary of these injuries and illnesses must be posted in the workplace from February 1 to April 30. Details on recordkeeping requirements and forms are available from OSHA’s website at The website also offers training to help employers complete the forms.

Those with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from injury and illness recordkeeping requirements except when selected by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics to participate in a mandatory data collection.

Investigating Accidents
One of the hallmarks of an effective safety and health management system is a commitment to investigate every incident that results in a worker injury or illness—and near-misses as well. By immediately following up, employers can identify root causes and take corrective steps to prevent future problems.

Getting Help with Safety and Health Management Systems
When it comes to injuries and illnesses, the best defense is a good offense— a pro-active safety and health management system that focuses on finding and fixing hazards before they can lead to problems. OSHA offers various services— such as consultation and compliance assistance programs— to help employers establish safety and health management systems.

OSHA’s Consultation Program, for example, is a free service to help smaller employers identify and fix hazards in their workplaces. OSHA also has compliance assistance specialists available in each area office to help employers and employees comply with OSHA requirements. OSHA cooperative and partnership programs often offer assistance with establishing safety and health management systems. Other sources of help include trade associations, insurance companies and private consultants.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Respiratory Protection & Safety

Question 1: Should respirator medical evaluation questionnaires be maintained or destroyed by the physician or licensed healthcare provider (PLHCP) after the completion of the medical evaluation?

Reply 1: The respiratory protection standard requires an employer to retain and make available records of medical evaluations (including medical determinations and the questionnaires) in accordance with OSHA Regulations29 CFR 1910.1020, Access to Employee Medical and Exposure Records. All information from the questionnaire and/or the medical exam is confidential and arrangements must be made by the employer to ensure it is kept confidential. Usually, the employer will have the records maintained by the PLHCP.

Question 2: Should the employer ensure that respirator medical evaluation questionnaires are not kept with employee records?

Reply 2: Yes. Medical records are to be kept confidential and separate from other employee records (e.g., timesheets, training).

Question 3: Is the employer only required to maintain the written recommendation regarding an employee's medical determination from the PLHCP in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(e)(6)?

Reply 3: All medical records (including the medical determination) must be kept and made available by the employer as required by 29 CFR 1910.134(m)(1) and 1910.1020.

Question 4: Is it acceptable for the program administrator to "pre-complete" questions 10-19 of the respirator medical questionnaire with standard information?

Reply 4: Pre-filling any part of the medical questionnaire by the employer is not appropriate. The employee should be trained by the employer, so that the employee can answer the questions. Furthermore, the requirement under 29 CFR 1910.134(e)(5) requires for the employer to provide the PLHCP with supplemental information for each employee. This requires providing the PLHCP with the answers to similar questions, as well as a copy of the employer's respiratory protection program and a copy of the standard. However, it is not mandatory to complete questions 10 through 19 of the respirator medical questionnaire unless requested by the PLCHP.

Question 5: Are there any additional recordkeeping requirements for fit test results that would prevent the department from destroying historical fit test records, as long a current test record is maintained?

Reply 5: There are no additional requirements. 29 CFR 1910.134(m)(2)(ii) only requires fit testing records to be retained by the employer until the next fit test is administered.

For more information about the use of respirators in the workplace, please visit this link:
Workplace Safety Training for Respirator Use

Monday, January 31, 2011

PPE Types and Uses

Protection from Head Injuries
Hard hats can protect your workers from head impact, penetration injuries, and electrical injuries such as those caused by falling or flying objects, fixed objects, or contact with electrical conductors. Also, OSHA regulations require employers to ensure that workers cover and protect long hair to prevent it from getting caught in machine parts such as belts and chains.

Protection from Foot and Leg Injuries
In addition to foot guards and safety shoes, leggings (e.g., leather, aluminized rayon, or other appropriate material) can help prevent injuries by protecting workers from hazards such as falling or rolling objects, sharp objects, wet and slippery surfaces, molten metals, hot surfaces, and electrical hazards.

Protection from Eye and Face Injuries
Besides safety glasses and goggles, personal protective equipment such as special helmets or shields, spectacles with side shields, and face shields can protect workers from the hazards of flying fragments, large chips, hot sparks, optical radiation, splashes from molten metals, as well as objects, particles, sand, dirt, mists, dusts, and glare.

Protection from Hearing Loss
Wearing earplugs or earmuffs can help prevent damage to hearing. Exposure to high noise levels can cause irreversible hearing loss or impairment as well as physical and psychological stress. Earplugs made from foam, waxed cotton, or fiberglass wool are self-forming and usually fit well. A professional should fit your workers individually for molded or preformed earplugs. Clean earplugs regularly, and replace those you cannot clean.

Protection from Hand Injuries
Workers exposed to harmful substances through skin absorption, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, chemical burns, thermal burns, and harmful temperature extremes will benefit from hand protection.

Protection from Body Injury
In some cases workers must shield most or all of their bodies against hazards in the workplace, such as exposure to heat and radiation as well as hot metals, scalding liquids, body fluids, hazardous materials or waste, and other hazards. In addition to fire-retardant wool and fire retardant cotton, materials used in whole-body personal protective equipment include rubber, leather, synthetics, and plastic.

When to Wear Respiratory Protection
When engineering controls are not feasible, workers must use appropriate respirators to protect against adverse health effects caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors. Respirators generally cover the nose and mouth or the entire face or head and help prevent illness and injury. A proper fit is essential, however, for respirators to be effective. Required respirators must be NIOSH-approved and medical evaluation and respirator training must be provided before use.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The following is a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA. OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up. Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace.

  1. 1926.451 – Scaffolding - Employee Scaffolding Safety Training

  2. 1926.501 – Fall Protection - Employee Fall Protection Safety Training

  3. 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication - Hazard Communication Safety Training

  4. 1910.134 – Respiratory Protection - Respiratory Protection Safety Training

  5. 1926.1053 – Ladders - Ladder Safety Training

  6. 1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout - Lockout/Tagout Safety Training

  7. 1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods - Electrical Safety Training

  8. 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks - Forklift Safety Training

  9. 1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements - Electrical Safety Training

  10. 1910.212 – Machine Guarding - Machine Guarding Safety Training

Friday, January 14, 2011

Driving Safety

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the United States, and its often fatal consequences are a threat to your workers, your business and the public.

Because millions of workers’ jobs require them to spend part or all of their work day driving ― visiting clients and customers, making site visits, or delivering goods and services ― the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Transportation (DOT) are joining forces in a campaign to stop distracted driving and save lives.

Year after year, the leading cause of worker fatalities is motor vehicle crashes. There’s no question that new communications technologies are helping business work smarter and faster. But getting work done faster does not justify the dramatically increased risk of injury and death that comes with texting while driving.

The human toll is tragic. DOT reports that in 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distraction and thousands more were injured. “Texting while driving” has become such a prominent hazard that 30 states now ban text messaging for all drivers.

OSHA is partnering with others across government, industry and the public to bring together important information and tools to attack texting while driving and other distracted driver hazards. We invite you to learn more about combating this problem at and at DOT’s distracted driving website,

Most employers want to do the right thing and protect their workers, and some have already taken action to prohibit texting while driving. It is your responsibility and legal obligation to create and maintain a safe and healthful workplace, and that would include having a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against the hazard of texting while driving. Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.

To combat the threat of distracted driving, we are prepared to act quickly. When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or who organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, we will investigate and where necessary issue citations and penalties to end this practice.

National Safety Compliance has developed a workplace Driving Safety program to train employees. For more information about this program, please visit this link:
Driving Safety Training for the Workplace

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

English / Spanish Speaking Employees

Re: English language proficiency at construction sites.

Question: Is there an OSHA requirement that obligates employers to ensure that their employees can communicate with supervisors and co-workers in English at construction sites so that they can understand safety training and instructions and coordinate safely with co-workers?

Answer: while there are construction standards that require training and instructions, there are no OSHA construction standards that specifically require that such information be conveyed and understood in English. For example, OSHA 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2) states:
The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.

Certain OSHA construction standards supplement the requirement of 1926.21(b)(2) by requiring that employees receive training in specific topics. One example is 29 CFR 1926.503(a)(1), which provides:

The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.

The employer's duty under the construction standards to train and instruct employees in how to comply with OSHA standards and to avoid hazards in the work environment necessarily means that employers must present information in a manner that employees are able to understand. As OSHA stated in the OSHA Training Standards Policy Statement, dated 04/28/2010:1

Regardless of the precise regulatory language, the terms "train" and "instruct," as well as other synonyms, mean to present information in a manner that employees receiving it are capable of understanding.2

In addition, it is common that, for safety reasons, construction employees need to be able to communicate with supervisors and co-workers. However, an OSHA obligation in that regard would be met by any system in which that communication could reliably occur; there is no OSHA requirement that the communication system be based on the English language.

For workplace safety training materials in English or in Spanish, please visit this site established by National Safety Compliance: OSHA Safety Training

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

OSHA Ladder Safety

Question (1): Do OSHA construction regulations prohibit an employee from working from a portable stepladder?

Answer (1): Title 29 CFR 1926.1053(b), Use, provides:
* * *
(3) Ladders shall not be loaded beyond the maximum intended load for which they were built, nor beyond their manufacturer's rated capacity.
(4) Ladders shall be used only for the purpose for which they were designed.
* * *
(13) The top or top step of a stepladder shall not be used as a step.
* * *
There are no OSHA construction standards that specifically prohibit an employee from working from a portable stepladder. However, the use of a portable ladder must comply with the Use requirements quoted above. If working from a portable stepladder was inconsistent with any of these provisions, such use would be prohibited. Because of the wide variety of circumstances and ladder designs, it is not possible for us to state, as a general matter, whether working from a portable ladder would be consistent or inconsistent with any of these provisions.

Question (2): Is fall protection required while working from a portable stepladder?

Answer (2): In 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart M (Fall protection), Section 1926.500(a)(2)(vii) provides:
Requirements relating to fall protection for employees working on stairways and ladders are provided in Subpart X . . .
* * *
There is no provision in Subpart X that requires fall protection for an employee while working from a portable stepladder. However, if the employee will be on a surface prior to ascending or upon exiting the ladder for which another Subpart in 1926 requires fall protection, then fall protection would be required at such times. General requirements for fall protection can be found at Subpart M of 29 CFR Part 1926, while requirements specific to a particular activity or equipment can be found at its applicable Subpart in 29 CFR Part 1926.

National Safety Compliance has developed construction safety training programs for both Ladder Safety and Fall Protection. For more information about these training programs, please visit this link: Construction Safety Training to meet OSHA Regulations

Monday, January 10, 2011

OSHA Reports on State Approved Plans

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that it has concluded a special evaluation of state-run occupational safety and health programs under its jurisdiction. Enhanced Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation reports provide detailed findings and recommendations on the operations of state-run OSHA programs in 25 states and territories. The enhanced review was initiated after a 2009 special OSHA report on Nevada's program, prompted by numerous construction-related fatalities in Las Vegas, identified serious operational deficiencies in that state.

"Our goal is to identify problems in state-run programs before they result in serious injuries or fatalities," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "While we found many positives in the state programs, we also found deficiencies including concerns about identification of hazards, proper classification of violations, proposed penalty levels, and failure to follow up on violations to ensure that workplace safety and health problems are corrected."

The EFAME report and appendices for each of the 25 states, as well as each state's comment and fiscal year 2009 self-evaluation report, are now available on OSHA's website at

States will have 30 days to provide a formal response, including a detailed corrective action plan for addressing findings and recommendations. Each state's formal response will be public information and available online as soon as it is received.

The EFAME review also identified areas where states have adopted standards and procedures exceeding federal OSHA's requirements, such as injury and illness prevention programs in California, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota and other states; the adoption of a cranes and derricks rule prior to OSHA's in North Carolina, Washington and Maryland; and Oregon's requirement that employers abate serious workplace violations during the contest period, a legal tool under consideration in Congress but still lacking in federal OSHA.

The review of the Hawaii program highlights significant performance problems resulting from staffing and funding cutbacks. OSHA is addressing these problems directly with the governor's office and has offered to provide supplemental federal enforcement assistance until the state can address its problems. If Hawaii is unable to present a reasonable strategy for expeditiously improving its worker safety and health oversight, consideration will be given to the state's current authority to operate its own program independently and could result in a federal takeover.

"We recognize that some of the problems we identified could stem from significant budget constraints in many of the states and may also be the result of less intensive federal oversight in recent years," Michaels added. "OSHA, through its regional offices, intends to provide assistance in the implementation of corrective actions and will work closely with state officials to review progress. We are confident that by working together to address identified problems, we can improve state operations and provide more consistent protection to all of America's workers."

The 25 states and territories evaluated are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. No reports are being issued on the Nevada and Illinois state plans; a special study was issued on the Nevada state plan in October 2009, and the Illinois state plan was not approved until September 2009. The status of each state's efforts to improve its plans will be reflected in the fiscal year 2010 Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation report expected in 2011. For more information about those states operating their own plans, visit

When Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, it created an opportunity for federal-state partnerships to promote safety and health. Section 18 of the law allows states to develop and enforce occupational safety and health standards in the context of an OSHA-approved state plan. Twenty-seven states and territories have sought and obtained approval. Twenty-one states and Puerto Rico have complete programs covering both the private sector and state and local governments. Four states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have programs limited in coverage to public sector employees. Currently, state plans deliver the OSHA program to 40 percent of the nation's workplaces, with federal OSHA responsible for the other 60 percent.

State plan standards and enforcement must be at least as effective as federal OSHA in providing safe and healthful employment to workers. In addition, state plans operate under authority of state law, not delegated federal authority. Thus, in order to operate its own plan, a state must enact an equivalent of the federal OSH Act and must use administrative and regulatory procedures to adopt its own standards, regulations and operating procedures, all of which must be updated within six months of any change in the federal program.

Friday, January 7, 2011

OSHA Targets Federal Employers

WASHINGTON — OSHA recently updated its Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program (FEDTARG) directive for fiscal year 2011. FEDTARG directs programmed inspections of federal agency establishments that experienced high numbers of lost time injuries during FY 2010.

The directive outlines the procedures for carrying out programmed inspections at some of the most hazardous federal workplaces. OSHA will inspect all establishments reporting 100 or more lost time cases (LTCs) during FY 2010; 50 percent of those establishments reporting 50 to 99 LTCs; and 10 percent of those reporting 20 to 49 LTCs.

Changes to this directive include defining lost time case to mean a worker who loses time from work beyond the date of the injury. Other changes include updates to OSHA's recordkeeping violation policy, and guidance for the inspection of a federal worksite with multiple operations.

FEDTARG11 continues OSHA's nationwide inspection targeting program for federal worksites. This program began in 2008 in response to a Government Accountability Office audit report that recommended the agency develop a targeted inspection program for federal worksites. Executive Order 12196, Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees, Paragraph 1-401(i) requires Federal OSHA to “conduct unannounced inspections of agency workplaces when the Secretary determines necessary if an agency does not have occupational safety and health committees; or in response to reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions.”

OSHA Recordkeeping

Highlights of OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule
OSHA’s rule addressing the recording and reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses affects approximately 1.4 million establishments. A number of specific industries in the retail, service, finance, insurance and real estate sectors that are classified as low hazard are exempt from most requirements of the rule as are small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. The revised rule took effect January 1, 2002, except for provisions covering hearing loss and musculoskeletal disorders, which OSHA was delayed until January 1, 2003 — while the agency reconsidered these issues. The new rule improved employee involvement, called for greater employee privacy protection, created simpler forms, provided clearer regulatory requirements, and allowed employers more flexibility to use computers to meet OSHA regulatory requirements. Following is a brief summary of key provisions of the rule.
■ Updated three recordkeeping forms:
  • OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); simplified and printed on
  • smaller, legal size paper.
  • OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report); includes more data about how the injury or illness occurred.
  • OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); a new form created to make it easier to post and calculate incidence rates.
■ Provided a single set of recording criteria for both work-related injuries and work-related illnesses. (The former rule required employers to record all illnesses, regardless of severity.)
■ Required records to include a work-related injury or illness resulting in one of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness or diagnosis of a significant injury or illness by a physician or other licensed health care professional.
■ Included new definitions of medical treatment, first aid and restricted work to simplify recording decisions.
■ Required a significant degree of aggravation before a preexisting injury or illness is considered work related.
■ Added further exceptions to the definition of work-relatedness to limit recording of cases involving eating and drinking of food and beverages, common colds and flu, blood donations, exercise programs, mental illnesses, etc.
■ Clarified the recording of “light duty” or restricted work cases. Required employers to record cases when the injured or ill employee is restricted from “routine job functions,” which are defined as work activities the employee regularly performs at least once weekly.
■ Required employers to record all needlestick and sharps injuries involving contamination by another person’s blood or other potentially infectious materials.
■ Included separate provisions describing the recording criteria for cases involving the work-related transmission of tuberculosis.
■ Eliminated the term “lost workdays” and required recording of days away from work or days restricted or days transferred to another job. Calls for employers to count calendar days rather than workdays.
■ Required employers to establish a procedure for employees to report injuries and illnesses and tell their employees how to report. (Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who do report by Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.)
■ Employees and former employees are guaranteed access to their individual OSHA 301 forms. Employee representatives are provided access to the “information about the case” section of the OSHA 301 form in establishments where they represent employees.
■ Protected employee privacy by (1) prohibiting employers from entering an individual’s name on Form 300 for certain types of injuries or illnesses (e.g., sexual assaults, HIV infections, mental illnesses); (2) allowing employers not to describe the nature of sensitive injuries where the employee’s identity would be known; (3) giving employee representatives access only to the portion of Form 301 that contains no personal information; and (4) requiring employers to remove employees’ names before providing the data to persons not provided access rights under the rule.
■ Required the annual summary to be posted for 3 months instead of 1. Required certification of the summary by a company executive.
■ Excluded some public transportation and motor vehicle accidents from the reporting of fatalities and catastrophes.
■ States that operate their own job safety and health programs adopted comparable recordkeeping rules that were also effective January 1, 2002. States must have the same requirements for which injuries and illnesses are recordable and how they are recorded. However, other provisions, such as industry exemptions, may be different as long as they are as
stringent as the federal requirements.

For more information about OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, please visit this link:
OSHA Recordkeeping Training & Supplies

OSHA Fall Protection

Question: Employees at times perform various tasks on construction equipment being used at a construction site, such as checking fluid levels. At times this work is done while the employee is on the vehicle at heights over 6 feet. Do any OSHA construction standards require fall protection for employees who are on construction equipment, such as excavators, dump trucks, and bulldozers at heights in excess of 6 feet?

Answer: The OSHA standards for fall protection in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M do not apply in this situation because Subpart M explicitly excludes vehicles. 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(1) states:
Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
The phrase "walking/working surface" is defined at 29 CFR 1926.500(b)(2) as:
Any surface, whether horizontal or vertical on which an employee walks or works, including, but not limited to, floors, roofs, ramps, bridges, runways, formwork and concrete reinforcing steel but not including ladders, vehicles, or trailers, on which employees must be located in order to perform their job duties. [Emphasis added].
Therefore, Subpart M does not require fall protection for an employee who is on a vehicle in order to perform his or her job duties because 1926.500(b)(2) expressly excludes vehicles from the definition of "walking/working surface."

Subpart M does not contain a definition of "vehicles." It is not our intention in this letter to comprehensively interpret that term. However, we have concluded that the types of construction equipment mentioned in your correspondence are "vehicles" as that term is used in Subpart M because each one is mobile, motorized, and would have been generally considered as a vehicle at the time of the promulgation of Subpart M.

National Safety Compliance has developed an employee training DVD specific to OSHA fall protection requirements. For more information about this program, please visit this link: OSHA Fall Protection Safety Training

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

OSHA Trenching & Excavating

Digging a trench is more than shoveling dirt. Any child who’s ever played on the beach knows what happens when you dig a big hole in unstable soil. It caves in. But when there’s a worker down in a trench, it’s not so much fun. In fact a trench can easily turn into a grave when OSHA regulations are ignored by an employer.

A cubic yard of soil weighs about 2,700 pounds, the weight of a mid-sized automobile. A trench collapse may contain three to five cubic feet of soil. Do the math. That’s why any trench over five feet deep has to be shored, sloped or supported in some way to keep workers from being killed in a collapse.

Recently, OSHA issued Gerardi Sewer & Water Co. in Norridge, Ill., a fine of $360,000 for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. OSHA implemented a Trenching and Excavation Special Emphasis Program in the 1980s, so the industry is well aware of the safety regulations for trenching operations. Gerardi Sewer & Water has been inspected and cited by OSHA numerous times. There is no excuse for noncompliance at its jobsites. Because the company is a repeat offender of OSHA safety regulations, it has been placed on OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP). Initiated in the spring of 2010, SVEP is intended to focus on employers who endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Trenching is more than just digging a hole. Following OSHA regulations can save a life.

It is important that all employers understand and follow the OSHA regulations regarding excavating, trenching and shoring. Employers should ensure that a "competent person" is properly trained and is supervising all such jobsites. Workers in trenches should also be trined using programs such as this Excavation and Trenching Safety program offered by National Safety Compliance.