Friday, December 21, 2012

Preventing backover incidents

A backover incident occurs when a backing vehicle strikes a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling behind the vehicle. These incidents can be prevented. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 70 workers died from backover incidents in 2011. These kinds of incidents can occur in different ways. For example:
On June 18, 2009, an employee was working inside a work zone wearing his reflective safety vest. A dump truck operating in the work zone backed up and struck the employee with the rear passenger side wheels. The employee was killed. The dump truck had an audible back up alarm and operating lights. (OSHA Inspection Number 313225377)

On June 9, 2010, an employee was standing on the ground in front of a loading dock facing into the building while a tractor trailer was backing into the same dock. The trailer crushed the employee between the trailer and the dock. (OSHA Inspection Number 314460940)
The purpose of this webpage is to provide information about the hazards of backovers; solutions that can reduce the risk or frequency of these incidents; articles and resources; and references to existing regulations and letters of interpretation.
How do backover incidents occur?
Backover accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Drivers may not be able to see a worker in their blind spot. Workers may not hear backup alarms because of other worksite noises or because the alarms are not functioning. A spotter assisting one truck may not see another truck behind him. Workers riding on vehicles may fall off and get backed over. Drivers may assume that the area is clear and not look in the direction of travel. Sometimes, it is unclear why a worker was in the path of a backing vehicle. A combination of factors can also lead to backover incidents.
What can be done to prevent backover incidents?
Many solutions exist to prevent backover incidents. Drivers can use a spotter to help them back up their vehicles. Video cameras with in-vehicle display monitors can give drivers a view of what is behind them. Proximity detection devices, such as radar and sonar, can alert drivers to objects that are behind them. Tag-based systems can inform drivers when other employees are behind the vehicle and can alert employees when they walk near a vehicle equipped to communicate with the tag worn by the employee. On some work sites, employers can create internal traffic control plans, which tell the drivers where to drive and can reduce the need to back up. In some cases, internal traffic control plans can also be used to separate employees on foot from operating equipment.
Training is another tool to prevent backover incidents. Blind spots behind and around vehicles are not immediately obvious to employees on foot. By training employees on where those blind spots are and how to avoid being in them, employers can prevent some backover incidents. One component of this training can include putting employees who will be working around vehicles in the driver’s seat to get a feel for where the blind spots are and what, exactly, the drivers can see. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) several blind spot diagrams that can help explain what drivers of various large trucks can see.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fall protection in Residential Construction, enforcement measures extended.

Dec. 11, 2012
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999
OSHA extends temporary enforcement measures in residential construction
through March 15
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will extend for three months its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. The temporary enforcement measures, now extended through March 15, 2013, include priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to ensure consistency and increased outreach. Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace death in construction.

OSHA has been working closely with the industry to assist employers in complying with the new directive. From Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012, OSHA's On-site Consultation Projects performed more than 3,000 on-site visits, conducted close to 1,100 training sessions and delivered close to 500 presentations related to fall protection in residential construction. OSHA's regional and area offices also conducted more than 1,200 outreach activities on the directive. The agency will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy.

OSHA will also continue to develop materials to assist the industry, including a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance, National Safety Compliance has some great resources also regarding Fall Protection and compliance with OSHA regulations.

Monday, December 3, 2012

How to file a complaint.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives employees and their representatives the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or their employer is not following OSHA standards. Further, the Act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.
Complaints from employees and their representatives are taken seriously by OSHA. It is against the law for an employer to fire, demote, transfer, or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.

OSHA will keep your information confidential. We can help.
If you think your job is unsafe and you want to ask for an inspection, contact us. It is confidential. If you have been fired, demoted, transferred or discriminated against in any way for using your rights under the law, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.

Complaint Filing Options

You have these options to file your safety and health complaint:
  1. Online - Go to the Online Complaint Form Written complaints that are signed by workers or their representative and submitted to an OSHA Area or Regional office are more likely to result in onsite OSHA inspections. Complaints received on line from workers in OSHA-approved state plan states will be forwarded to the appropriate state plan for response.
  2. Download and Fax/Mail - Download the OSHA complaint form* [En Espanol*] (or request a copy from your local OSHA Regional or Area Office), complete it and then fax or mail it back to your local OSHA Regional or Area Office. Written complaints that are signed by a worker or representative and submitted to the closest OSHA Area Office are more likely to result in onsite OSHA inspections. Please include your name, address and telephone number so we can contact you to follow up. This information is confidential.
  3. Telephone - your local OSHA Regional or Area Office. OSHA staff can discuss your complaint and respond to any questions you have. If there is an emergency or the hazard is immediately life-threatening, call your local OSHA Regional or Area Office or 1-800-321-OSHA(6742).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

US DOL Worker Safety and Health Challenge

Roughly 18 million workers in the United States are 24 years old or younger and constitute almost 15% of the workforce. In 2009, 359 workers between the ages of 13 and 24 died from work-related injuries. In addition, there were over 800,000 non-fatal work-related injuries that required medical attention. The rate of emergency room treated occupational injuries is double for workers under the age of 25 in comparison to those 25 years and older. Workers, especially young workers, need to be aware of hazards they may face on their job and what they can do to protect themselves. Young workers are often unaware of their rights to raise workplace safety concerns.
Challenge Summary:
Your challenge is to use publicly available government information (i.e., DOL/OSHA data, NIOSH data, and other online government resources) to educate young workers on the safety and health risks in real work scenarios. Each submission should achieve both the following goals:
  • Provide tools that demonstrate the importance of knowing about workplace safety and health hazards:
    These features should include components that inform young workers about health and safety hazards in the workplace and the serious consequences of workplace injury. Information on safety and health from OSHA, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), NIOSH, State Worker’s Compensation data, and/or other government sources must be incorporated to create real world scenarios. Additional suggested features include tools that bring awareness to best management practices, such as engineering controls and personal protection equipment (PPE).
  • Provide tools to understand their rights in the workplace:
    The features should include components that help young workers become aware about their rights in the workplace and their employer’s responsibility to ensure their health and safety on the job. The content and type of application must be age appropriate, and should also feature mechanisms for users to interact or share with each other.
In addition, submissions should:
  • be creative, innovative, and easy to use;
  • provide access to important data and resources;
  • attract users with different skill sets and language preferences;
  • consider partnerships that will ensure sustainability of the app; and
  • Target the 13 to 24 age group, but may also cover a larger demographic as worker’s ages range from 13 to 65+.
Successful apps could take many different forms, such as: interactive and informative games, social or professional networks, or data visualization.
Submissions may be designed for internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones, social media platforms, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.
Criteria:
Submissions should be creative and innovative, offering the public easy access to important data and resources that meet the stated goals of this challenge. Successful apps could take many different forms, such as: interactive and informative games, social or professional networks, or data visualization. Additionally, submissions should consider partnerships that will ensure sustainability of the app, and should also consider means to attract users with different skill sets and language preferences. See the "Judging Criteria" section for more information.
Prizes:
A total of four (4) prizes totaling no more than $30,000 will be awarded, including one (1) Grand Prize, two (2) Category Prizes, and one (1) People’s Choice Award prize. A single entry is eligible for winning more than one prize. The awards are described in the "Prizes" section. Prizes are subject to change.
Partners: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Employment & Training Administration (ETA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Monday, November 12, 2012

OSHA Regulation Variances

Variance Program
A variance is a regulatory action that permits an employer to deviate from the requirements of an OSHA standard under specified conditions. A variance does not provide an outright exemption from a standard, except in cases involving national defense as described below. Sections 6 and 16 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), and the implementing rules contained in the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 1905 and 1904.38), authorized variances from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

An employer or class of employers may request a variance for any specific workplaces. Employers can request a variance for many reasons, including not being able to fully comply on time with a new safety or health standard because of a shortage of personnel, materials, or equipment. Employers may prefer to use methods, equipment, or facilities that they believe protect workers as well as, or better than, OSHA standards.

The Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities (OTPCA) in OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM) receives and processes variance applications. OTPCA processes variance applications in close collaboration with other affected regional offices and directorates. OTPCA's goal is to ensure that employers' proposed alternatives for worker protection are as effective in providing worker protection as the standards from which the employers are seeking a variance. For questions about the variance process contact OSHA at VarianceProgram@dol.gov.
Types of Variances
  1. Permanent: Section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) authorizes permanent variances from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. An employer may apply for a permanent variance by following the regulatory requirements specified by 29 CFR 1905.11. An employer (or class or group of employers*) may request a permanent variance for a specific workplace(s). A permanent variance authorizes the employer(s) to use an alternative means to comply with the requirements of a standard when they can prove that their proposed methods, conditions, practices, operations, or processes provide workplaces that are at least as safe and healthful as the workplaces provided by the OSHA standards from which they are seeking the permanent variance. In the application, the employer must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the proposed alternative means of compliance provides its workers with safety and health protection that is equal to, or greater than, the protection afforded to them by compliance with the standard(s) from which they are seeking the variance. In addition, the employer must notify employees of the variance application, and of their right to participate in the variance process. Inability to afford the cost of complying with the standard is not a valid reason for requesting a permanent variance.

  2. Temporary: Section 6(b)6(A) of the OSH Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) authorizes temporary variances from OSHA standards. Employers may apply for a temporary variance by following the regulatory requirements specified by 29 CFR 1905.10. An employer (or class or group of employers*) may request a temporary variance for a specific workplace(s). A temporary variance authorizes an employer short-term (i.e., limited time) relief from a standard when the employer cannot comply with newly published OSHA requirements by the date the standard becomes effective because they cannot complete the necessary construction or alteration of the facility in time, or when technical personnel, materials, or equipment are temporarily unavailable. (Note: The employer must submit the application for a temporary variance to OSHA prior to the effective date of the standard.) To be eligible for a temporary variance, an employer must implement an effective compliance program as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the employer must demonstrate to OSHA that it is taking all available steps to safeguard workers. Inability to afford the cost of complying with the standard is not a valid reason for requesting a temporary variance. In addition, the employer must notify employees of the variance application, and of their right to participate in the variance process.

  3. Experimental: Section 6(b)6(C) of the OSH Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) authorizes experimental variances from OSHA standards. An employer (or class or group of employers*) may request an experimental variance for a specific workplace(s). An experimental variance authorizes the employer(s) to demonstrate or validate new or improved safety and health techniques when they can prove that their proposed experimental methods, conditions, practices, operations, or processes provide workplaces that are at least as safe and healthful as the workplaces provided by the OSHA standards from which they are seeking the experimental variance. In the application, the employer must describe in detail the proposed experimental design, and demonstrate how performing the experiment will provide workers with safety and health protection that is at least equal to the protection afforded by compliance with the standard(s). In addition, the employer must: obtain a written statement signed by each worker who agrees to participate in the proposed experiment that he/she does so knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily; and provide certification that the employer informed the volunteer workers of the plan of the proposed experiment, its attendant risk, and the right to terminate participation in the experiment.

  4. National Defense: Section 16 of the OSH Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) authorizes national defense variances granting reasonable variations, tolerances, and exemptions from OSHA standards to avoid serious impairment of the national defense. If a national defense variance is in effect for more than six months, employers seeking the variance must notify their workers, and employees must be afforded an opportunity for a public hearing on the issues involved. An employer may apply for a national defense variance by following the regulatory requirements specified by 29 CFR 1905.12. Only Federal OSHA may grant national defense variances. An employer (or class or group of employers*) may request a national defense variance for a specific workplace(s). A national defense variance authorizes the employer(s) reasonable variations, tolerances, and exemptions from compliance with the requirements of a standard when they can show that the proposed variance is necessary and proper to avoid serious impairment to the national defense. In addition, the employer must notify employees of the variance application, and of their right to petition OSHA for a hearing.
*A class or group of employers (such as members of a trade alliance or association) may apply jointly for a variance provided an authorized representative for each employer signs the application and the application identifies each employer's affected facilities.
  1. Interim Order: When employers apply for a temporary or permanent variance, OSHA can, upon request, grant them an interim order allowing them to use the proposed alternative means of compliance while OSHA is reviewing their variance application. However, for permanent variances, OSHA will grant an interim order only after it determines that the interim order will protect workers at least as effectively as the standard from which the employer is seeking the variance. If OSHA grants the interim order on a temporary or permanent variance, employers must inform workers of the order using the same means of notification used to inform employees of the variance application.

  2. Recordkeeping Variance: This variance allows employers to use an alternative recordkeeping procedure to comply with OSHA's occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation at 29 CFR Part 1904 ("Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses"). Alternate recordkeeping procedures must meet the purposes of the OSH Act, must not otherwise interfere with the administration of the OSH Act, and must provide the same information as the Part 1904 regulations provide. For details on the information required in the application for a recordkeeping variance, see 29 CFR 1904.38.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Emergency response and cleanup workers assisting in Hurricane Sandy

Protect emergency response and cleanup workers assisting in Hurricane Sandy recovery operations

As the disaster recovery response to Hurricane Sandy begins throughout much of the Eastern United States, OSHA's field staff is working diligently to provide assistance and support to those involved in the recovery effort. OSHA urges workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities to be aware of the hazards they might encounter and the necessary steps they should take to protect themselves.
OSHA maintains comprehensive websites on keeping disaster site workers safe during hurricane and storm cleanup and flood response operations. The hurricane page includes a response/recovery page features a link to OSHA’s Hurricane eMatrix, which features information on hazard exposures and risk assessments for hurricane response and recovery work. The flood preparedness and response page also includes a response/recovery page that provides useful details on the hazards to avoid when flooding has occurred. The sites also provide extensive resources on protecting recovery workers, including a Hurricane Sandy safety and health resource page from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. For more information, read OSHA's press release on the Hurricane Sandy response as follows:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Region 1 News Release: 12-2174-BOS/BOS-2012-188
October 30, 2012
Contact: Andre J. Bowser
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: bowser.andre.j@dol.gov
US Labor Department's OSHA urges recovery workers
and public to guard against hazards during Hurricane Sandy
BOSTON – As residents of New England, New York and New Jersey recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities to be aware of the hazards they might encounter and the necessary steps they should take to protect themselves.

"Recovery work should not put you in the recovery room," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Storm recovery work involves a wide range of safety and health hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. OSHA wants to make certain that no casualties result from cleanup operations."

Cleanup work can involve restoring electricity, communications, water and sewer services; demolition activities; removal of floodwater from structures; entry into flooded areas; cleaning up debris; tree trimming; structural, roadway, bridge, dam and levee repair; use of cranes, aerial lifts and other heavy equipment; hazardous waste operations; and emergency response activities.

Inherent hazards may include illness from exposure to contaminated water or food, exposure to the elements and heat stress, downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from portable generators, fall and "struck-by" hazards from tree trimming or working at heights, being caught in unprotected excavations or confined spaces, burns, lacerations, musculoskeletal injuries, being struck by traffic or heavy equipment, and drowning from being caught in moving water or while removing water from flooded structures.

Protective measures should involve evaluating the work area for all hazards; task-specific hazard exposure monitoring; utilizing engineering or work practice controls to mitigate hazards; using personal protective equipment; assuming all power lines are live; following proper hygiene procedures; using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment correctly; and utilizing proper precautions for traffic work zones.

OSHA maintains a comprehensive website - http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/hurricane/index.html - on keeping disaster site workers safe during hurricane and storm cleanup and recovery operations. It contains fact sheets, concise "quick cards," frequently asked questions, safety and health guides, and additional information in English and Spanish. Information on protecting oneself against heat stress while working outdoors is available in English at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html and in Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/enespanol.html.

Additionally, a checklist of activities to be undertaken before, during and after a hurricane is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

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.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Identifying the workzone when the crane is near a power line.

The first scenario you describe is illustrated in the following drawing (Example 1) attached to your letter.
Example 1
EXAMPLE 1
A crane with a telescopic boom is positioned between a flatbed truck and a building. It will be used to lift a HVAC unit from the flatbed to the roof of the building. Power lines are located on the side of the flatbed opposite the crane. The employer has demarcated the work zone with three flags located in a straight line that cuts across the dotted circle with the crane at its center. The radius of the circle represents the extension of the boom at its maximum extension and at the minimum angle shown in the crane's load chart for the weight and shape of the load to be picked. However, a circle drawn at the maximum radius the boom could reach would have a larger radius. The three flags form a line (the demarcated boundary line) parallel to the power line that is located at a distance from the power line equal to the minimum clearance distance required by the standard.

Question 1: Assuming that the flags are clearly visible to the crane operator, would demarcating the work zone as shown in Example 1 achieve compliance with the standard?

Response 1: Yes, as long as (1) the crane operator is prohibited from operating the crane outside the line of flags used to demarcate the work zone, and (2) the flags are close enough to each other and extend far enough along the demarcated boundary line that the operator is able to use them to judge whether the equipment remains within the demarcated boundary line.

The work zone requirement is found in §1926.1408(a), which provides:
§1926.1408 Power line safety (up to 350 kV) - equipment operations.

(a) Hazard assessments and precautions inside the work zone. Before beginning equipment operations, the employer must:

(1) Identify the work zone by either:
(i) Demarcating boundaries (such as with flags, or a device such as a range limit device or range control warning device) and prohibiting the operator from operating the equipment past those boundaries, or
(ii) Defining the work zone as the area 360 degrees around the equipment, up to the equipment's maximum working radius.

(2) Determine if any part of the equipment, load line or load (including rigging and lifting accessories), if operated up to the equipment's maximum working radius in the work zone, could get closer than 20 feet to a power line. If so, the employer must meet the requirements in Option (1), Option (2), or Option (3) of this section ...
In Example 1, the employer has demarcated the work zone under the §1408(a)(1)(i) option. The flags form a straight line that is parallel to the power line and give the operator a visual indication of whether the equipment, including the load, remains the minimum clearance distance from the power line. This type of demarcation - a line of flags parallel to the power line and located at least the minimum clearance distance from the power line - is one type of demarcation that is adequate under the standard. However, the number of flags must be sufficient to enable the operator to determine visually that the equipment remains the minimum clearance distance from the power line. If the spacing between the flags is too large or if the flags do not extend far enough along the demarcated boundary line, the operator may not be able to make that determination accurately.

When the work zone is demarcated under §1408(a)(1)(i), the employer must then determine, pursuant to §1408(a)(2), whether any part of the equipment, load line or load (including rigging and lifting accessories), could get closer than the minimum clearance distance to a power line. As OSHA stated in the preamble to the rule, "[t]his determination must be made based upon the assumption that the crane would be operated up to its maximum working radius (or, if a demarcated boundary is used, the assessment must be made with the assumption that the crane would be operated up to that boundary)." 75 FR 47952 (Emphasis added). If the demarcated boundary line is located at least the minimum clearance distance from the power line, the operator understands that no part of the equipment or load may go past the demarcated boundary line of flags, and the operator is able to judge the position of the equipment with respect to the demarcated boundary line, §1408(a)(2) is satisfied and no further precautions are needed.
Example 1a
EXAMPLE 1a
Question 2: In Example 1a, the employer has demarcated the work zone by placing flags around the entire circle. Is it necessary to demarcate the work zone with flags around the entire circle, as shown in Example 1a?

Response 2: No. As discussed in Response 1, a line of flags parallel to the power line and at least the minimum clearance distance from the line will be sufficient as long as the operator understands that no part of the equipment or load may go past the line of flags and the operator is able to judge the position of the equipment with respect to the line of flags.

In the second scenario, the crane is between the flatbed and the power line. If the crane's boom is pointed in the direction of the power line at its maximum extension, it would be closer to the line than is permissible. Examples 2 and 2a show two possible arrangements of flags used to demarcate the work area.
Example 2
EXAMPLE 2
Example 2a
EXAMPLE 2a
Question 3: In Example 2, the operator is prohibited from swinging the boom past either of the two flags so that the boom, even at its maximum extension, remains in an arc that will keep it the minimum clearance distance from the power line. Is this sufficient to establish a work zone that will keep the crane at the minimum clearance distance, or are the additional flags shown in Example 2a also needed?

Response 3: The two flags shown in Example 2 are sufficient as long as the operator understands their purpose.

As stated in the preamble to the standard, one way a work zone can be defined is by demarcating boundaries "[t]o the left and right of the operator, to limit the lateral movement of the boom." 75 FR 47952. The two flags in Example 2 demarcate the work zone to the left and right of the operator and enable the operator to limit the lateral movement of the boom so that it stays the minimum clearance distance from the power line. As long as the operator understands that the boom must not be swung to the left of the flag on the building or to the right of the other flag, the minimum clearance distance will be maintained, and the additional flags shown in Example 2a are not needed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lead Standard for OMB Review

Publication Date: 10/26/2012
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 77: 65415-65416
• Title: Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Lead in General Industry Standard

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 208 (Friday, October 26, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65415-65416]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26412]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Office of the Secretary


Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB
Review; Comment Request; Lead in General Industry Standard

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Labor (DOL) is submitting the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information
collection request (ICR) titled, "Lead in General Industry Standard,"
to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval
for continued use in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

DATES: Submit comments on or before November 26, 2012.

ADDRESSES: A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation;
including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency
of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained from the
RegInfo.gov Web site, http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, on the
day following publication of this notice or by contacting Michel Smyth
by telephone at 202-693-4129 (this is not a toll-free number) or
sending an email to DOL_PRA_PUBLIC@dol.gov.
    Submit comments about this request to the Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of
Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC
20503, Fax: 202-395-6881 (this is not a toll-free number), email:
OIRA_submission@omb.eop.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Michel Smyth by telephone at
202-693-4129 (this is not a toll-free number) or by email at DOL_PRA_PUBLIC@dol.gov.

    Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the Lead in General Industry
Standard and its information collection requirements is to protect
workers from the adverse effects associated with occupational exposure
to lead. Employers must monitor exposure to lead, provide medical
surveillance, train employees about the hazards of lead,
and establish and maintain accurate records of worker exposure to lead.
Employers, workers, physicians, and the Government use these records to
ensure exposure to lead does not harm workers.
    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency
generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and
the public is generally not required to respond to an information
collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays
a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any
other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to
penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if the
collection of information does not display a valid Control Number. See
5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this
information collection under Control Number 1218-0092. The current
approval is scheduled to expire on October 31, 2012; however, it should
be noted that existing information collection requirements submitted to
the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review.
For additional information, see the related notice published in the
Federal Register on August 10, 2012 (77 FR 47882).
    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB,
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in
the ADDRESSES section within 30 days of publication of this notice in
the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate
consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0092.
The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:
     Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency,
including whether the information will have practical utility;
     Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the
burden of the proposed collection of information, including the
validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
     Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the
information to be collected; and
     Minimize the burden of the collection of information on
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection
techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting
electronic submission of responses.
    Agency: DOL-OSHA.
    Title of Collection: Lead in General Industry Standard.
    OMB Control Number: 1218-0092.
    Affected Public: Private Sector--businesses or other for-profits.
    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 56,947.
    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 3,807,618.
    Total Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 1,105,397.
    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $143,191,684.

    Dated: October 22, 2012.
Michel Smyth,
Departmental Clearance Officer.
[FR Doc. 2012-26412 Filed 10-25-12; 8:45 a.m.]
BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
 
Visit National Safety Compliance to obtain training resources to comply with OSHA Lead Standards. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Outreach Webinar on GHS Standard

On August 13, OSHA and the Society of Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC) hosted a free webinar to help employers understand the requirements of OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard in the United States. The archived presentation has now been viewed by more than 8,000 participants. Developed as part of OSHA's alliance with SCHC, the webinar explained changes to the Hazard Communication Standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). During the webinar, OSHA staff provided information that answered questions from chemical manufacturers, downstream users, and other interested parties. Topics included changes expected in training, labeling, and safety data sheets and compliance assistance opportunities.
To access the webinar, click https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1006847 and submit your e-mail address and information (if needed). You will receive a link with instructions on viewing the presentation or downloading the reference materials. To learn more about the revised Hazard Communication Standard and GHS,visit us online at www.osha-safety-training.net

Friday, October 12, 2012

OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign

FALLS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN CONSTRUCTION. In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities (255 falls to lower level) out of 774 total fatalities in construction. These deaths are preventable.
Falls can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps:
  • Plan
  • Provide
  • Train
OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) - Construction Sector on this nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about common fall hazards in construction, and how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented and lives can be saved. Here's how:
PLAN ahead to get the job done safely
When working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.
When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site. For example, in a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
PROVIDE the right equipment
Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
Different ladders and scaffolds are appropriate for different jobs. Always provide workers with the kind they need to get the job done safely. For roof work, there are many ways to prevent falls. If workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect all fall protection equipment to ensure it's still in good condition and safe to use.
TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely
Falls can be prevented when workers understand proper set-up and safe use of equipment, so they need training on the specific equipment they will use to complete the job. Employers must train workers in hazard recognition and in the care and safe use ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment they'll be using on the job.
OSHA has provided numerous materials and resources that employers can use during toolbox talks to train workers on safe practices to avoid falls in construction. Falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps: Plan, Provide and Train.

Friday, July 27, 2012

OSHA Saves Lives and Jobs by Dr. David Michaels

“OSHA doesn’t kill jobs; it helps prevent jobs from killing workers.”

I have been promoting that message since I became head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration almost three years ago. It is supported by empirical evidence—and now—it’s been confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in Science, one of the world’s top scientific journals. Not only that, the new study, conducted by professors at the University of California and Harvard Business School, shows that OSHA inspections save billions of dollars for employers through reduced workers compensation costs.

The study, “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with no Detectable Job Loss,” found that workplace injury claims dropped 9.4% at randomly chosen businesses in the four years following an inspection by the California OSHA program, compared with employers not inspected. Those same employers also saved an average of 26% on workers’ compensation costs, when compared with similar firms that were not inspected.  This means that the average employer saved $355,000 (in 2011 dollars) as a result of an OSHA inspection. The effects were seen among small and large employers.

Translated to the nation as a whole, OSHA inspections prevent thousands of workplace injuries, while saving employers money and protecting jobs.  Michael Toffel, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, estimates that OSHA inspections nationwide could be saving employers $6 billion. And this doesn’t count the costs of lost production when workers are injured or made sick by their jobs or the pain and suffering of employees that is not compensated.

Important Conclusions from the Study:
According to the researchers, “employees almost surely gain from Cal/OSHA inspections,” and there was “no evidence that inspections lead to worse outcomes for employees or employers” in terms of employment or company survival.
“The benefits of a randomized safety inspection appear to be substantial.  These results do not support the hypothesis that OSHA regulations and inspections on average have little value in improving health and safety.” 
The fact is OSHA inspections save lives and jobs at the same time. This is not a surprise to me. I regularly hear from employers, both large and small, that they value OSHA inspections and treat the inspector as an additional, expert set of eyes.

The findings should finally put an end to the criticisms that OSHA inspections make running a business more expensive without adding value. The results are in: OSHA saves lives and jobs!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Enforcement of Steel Erection Subpart R

The steel erection standard includes provisions for employers on OHSA's requirement for fully planked deck or floors or safety nets (Section 1926.754(b)(3)). In April 2010, OSHA issued a compliance directive, CPL 02-01-048, which further clarified OSHA's enforcement policies relating to floors/nets. The 2010 directive eliminates the de minimis policy regarding fully planked or decked floors that was originally established in question #23 in the prior compliance directive, CPL 02-01-046. The previous de minimis policy considered employers in compliance with 1926.754(b)(3) when 100 percent fall protection systems were used during the erection of steel members.

While CPL 02-01-048 removed the de minimis policy, the CSHO retains their usual and customary citation discretion. Factors that should be evaluated when considering this discretion must include a complete evaluation of a number of factors including the following:
  • Is the fall protection system complete and are the correct components in use? For example, if workers are tied off at foot level, a standard 6-ft shock absorbing lanyard may not be adequate.
  • Have the workers been properly trained in the use of the equipment?
  • Has the employer provided for rescue? Is there a viable self-rescue option? Are the equipment and rescue procedures in place? Have all of the employees been trained on the rescue procedures? If the procedures include calling 911, do the emergency services know they are part of the plan and have the ability to respond? See Subpart R Appendix G, as referenced in 1926.760(d)(2).
  • Has falling object protection been provided or has work been precluded below the erection activity? See 1926.759.
If the employer is not providing 100 percent fall protection, does not have provisions for prompt rescue in the event of a fall, or is not providing protection from falling objects, citations for 1926.754(b)(3) should be considered.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Construction Focus Four Updated!

OSHA has updated their Construction Industry Focus Four Outreach Training Packet. This training consists of lesson plans on each of the Focus Four Hazards: 1) Falls 2) Caught-In or -Between 3) Struck-By 4) Electrocution.

1) Falls - Guardrail and safety net systems are two ways to protect workers from falls on the job. If you are more than 6 feet above the lower surface, some type of fall protection must be used by your employer.

Guardrails:

  • Toprails must be at least ¼ inch thick to prevent cuts and lacerations; and they must be between 39 and 45 inches from the working surface;

  • If wire rope is used, it must be flagged at least every six feet with highly visible materials;

  • Midrails, screens or mesh must be installed when there are no walls at least 21 inches high. Screens and mesh must extend from the toprail to the working level.

  • There can be no openings more than 19 inches;

  • The toprail must withstand at least 200 lbs. of force; the midrail must withstand 150 lbs. of force;

  • The system must be smooth enough to protect workers from cuts and getting their clothes snagged by the rail.

  • If guardrails are used around holes at points of access, like a ladderway, a gate must be used to prevent someone from falling through the hole, or be offset so that a person cannot walk directly into the hole.
Safety Nets:
  • The nets must be as close as practicable under the
    working surface, but never more than 30 feet below;

  • The safety net must be inspected every week for
    damage;

  • Each net must have a border rope with a minimum
    strength of 5,000 lbs.;

  • The safety net must extend outward a sufficient
    distance, depending on how far the net is from the
    working surface (OSHA has a formula to follow);

  • The safety net must absorb the force of a 400-pound bag of sand dropping
    on to the net ("the drop test");

  • Items in the net that could be dangerous must be removed as soon as
    possible.
National Safety Compliance has published the Focus Four OSHA Student Book in an easy to read booklet at a very reasonable price. NSC has also produced various OSHA Safety Training Videos to aid in the safety training of employees.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Do I need to fill out the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses?

Employers now have a new system for tracking workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA's new recordkeeping log is easier to understand and to use. Written in plain language using a question and answer format, the revised recordkeeping rule answers questions about recording occupational injuries and illnesses and explains how to classify particular cases. Flowcharts and checklists make it easier to follow the recordkeeping requirements.

What has changed?

The new rule:
  • Offers flexibility by letting employers computerize injury and illness records;

  • Updates three recordkeeping forms:

    • OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); simplified and reformatted to fit legal size paper. [300 Log Available Here]

    • 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); separate form created to make it easier to calculate incidence rates;

  • Continues to exempt smaller employers (employers with 10 or fewer employees) from most requirements;

  • Changes the exemptions for employers in service and retail industries;

  • Clarifies the definition of workrelationship, limiting the recording of pre-existing cases and adding new exceptions for some categories of injury and illness;

  • Includes new definitions of medical treatment, first aid, and restricted work to simplify recording decisions;

  • Eliminates different criteria for recording work-related injuries and work-related illnesses; one set of criteria will be used for both;

  • Changes the recording of needlestick injuries and tuberculosis;

  • Simplifies the counting of days away from work, restricted days and job transfer;

  • Improves employee involvement and provides employees and their representatives with access to the information; and

  • Protects privacy for injured and ill workers.
Simplified, clearer definitions also make it easier for employers to determine which cases must be recorded. Posting an annual summary of workplace injuries and illnesses for a longer period of time improves employee access to information, and as employees learn how to report workplace injuries and illnesses, their involvement and participation increase.

Which recordkeeping requirements apply to me?

Reporting fatalities and catastrophes: All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-596) must report to OSHA any workplace incident resulting in a fatality or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees within 8 hours. Keeping injury and illness records: If you had 10 or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year or your business is classified in a specific low-hazard retail, service, finance, insurance, or real estate industry, you do not have to keep injury and illness records unless the Bureau of Labor Statistics or OSHA informs you in writing that you must do so.

How can I tell if I am exempt?

OSHA uses the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code to determine which establishments must keep records. You can search for SIC Codes by keywords or by four-digit SIC to retrieve descriptive information of specific SICs in OSHA's online North American Industry Classification System Search, available on OSHA's website at: http://www.osha.gov/oshstats/naics-manual.html. Establishments classified in the following SICs are exempt from most of the recordkeeping requirements, regardless of size:

525 Hardware Stores
542 Meat and Fish Markets
544 Candy, Nut, and Confectionary Stores
545 Dairy Products Stores
546 Retail Bakeries
549 Miscellaneous Food Stores
551 New and Used Car Dealers
552 Used Car Dealers
554 Gasoline Service Stations
557 Motorcycle Dealers
56 Apparel and Accessory Stores
573 Radio, Television, and Computer Stores
58 Eating and Drinking Places
591 Drug Stores and Proprietary Stores
592 Liquor Stores
594 Miscellaneous Shopping Goods Stores
599 Retail Stores, Not Elsewhere Classified
60 Depository Institutions (Banks and Savings Institutions)
61 Nondepository Institutions (Credit Institutions)
62 Security and Commodity Brokers
63 Insurance Carriers
64 Insurance Agents, Brokers, and Services
653 Real Estate Agents and Managers
654 Title Abstract Offices
67 Holding and Other Investment Offices
722 Photographic Studios, Portrait
723 Beauty Shops
724 Barber Shops
725 Shoe Repair and Shoeshine Parlors
726 Funeral Service and Crematories
729 Miscellaneous Personal Services
731 Advertising Services
732 Credit Reporting and Collection Services
733 Mailing, Reproduction, and Stenographic Services
737 Computer and Data Processing Services
738 Miscellaneous Business Services
764 Reupholstery and Furniture Repair
78 Motion Picture
791 Dance Studios, Schools, and Halls
792 Producers, Orchestras, Entertainers
793 Bowling Centers
801 Offices and Clinics of Medical Doctors
802 Offices and Clinics of Dentists
803 Offices of Osteopathic Physicians
804 Offices of Other Health Practitioners
807 Medical and Dental Laboratories
809 Health and Allied Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
81 Legal Services
82 Educational Services (Schools, Colleges, Universities, and Libraries)
832 Individual and Family Services
835 Child Day Care Centers
839 Social Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
841 Museums and Art Galleries
86 Membership Organizations
87 Engineering, Accounting, Research, Management, and Related Services
899 Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
What do I have to do if I am not exempt?

Employers not exempt from OSHA's recordkeeping requirements must prepare and maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses. You need to review Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1904-"Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses," to see exactly which cases to record. * Use the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300) to list injuries and illnesses and track days away from work, restricted, or transferred. * Use the Injury and Illness Report (Form 301) to record supplementary information about recordable cases. You can use a workers' compensation or insurance form, if it contains the same information. * Use the Summary (Form 300A) to show totals for the year in each category. The summary is posted from February 1 to April 30 of each year.

What's so important about recordkeeping?

Recordkeeping is a critical part of an employer's safety and health efforts for several reasons:
  • Keeping track of work-related injuries and illnesses can help you prevent them in the future.

  • Using injury and illness data helps identify problem areas. The more you know, the better you can identify and correct hazardous workplace conditions.

  • You can better administer company safety and health programs with accurate records.

  • As employee awareness about injuries, illnesses, and hazards in the workplace improves, workers are more likely to follow safe work practices and report workplace hazards. OSHA compliance officers can rely on the data to help them properly identify and focus on injuries and illnesses in a particular area. The agency also asks about 80,000 establishments each year to report the data directly to OSHA, which uses the information as part of its site-specific inspection targeting program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also uses injury and illness records as the source data for the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses that shows safety and health trends nationwide and industrywide.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

OSHA partners with Torcon to protect workers on Penn State University construction project

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a partnership with Torcon Inc. to promote workplace safety and health, and to provide guidance, technical assistance and training for workers involved in the construction of the Penn State University Biological Research Laboratory.

"Construction is a high-hazard industry, and when multiple employers are working on a construction site, the likelihood of injuries occurring increases," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office, who represented the agency at a signing ceremony. "This partnership allows OSHA to work directly with Torcon, its subcontractor and the employees to provide the tools needed to prevent injuries and illnesses."

"Penn State University applauds OSHA's partnership with Torcon Inc.," said Don Fronk, Penn State physical plant occupational safety and environmental health specialist. "Safety has always been priority number one, and the university intends to maintain its fine track record."

The partnership aims to reduce the number of at-risk conditions and behaviors that could result in worker fatalities, injuries or illnesses, especially those relating to falls, struck-by, caught-in and electrical hazards.

Through its Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA partners with employers, workers, professional and trade associations, labor organizations and other stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

OSHA continues targeted inspection program for federal workers

OSHA recently updated its Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program (FEDTARG) directive [PDF] for fiscal year 2012. FEDTARG directs programmed inspections of federal agency establishments that experienced high numbers of lost time injuries during Fiscal Year 2011. The directive outlines the procedures for carrying out programmed inspections at some of the most hazardous federal workplaces. Changes to this directive include provisions for reviewing alternate and supplementary standards for federal agencies, which are the equivalent of private sector variances from OSHA standards. Other changes include clarifications of how OSHA Area Directors determine the appropriate number and location of on-site inspections for establishments with multiple services or operations.

FEDTARG12 continues OSHA's nationwide inspection targeting program for federal worksites. OSHA's Office of Federal Agency Programs (FAP) provides leadership and guidance to the heads of federal agencies to assist them with their occupational safety and health responsibilities.

In an effort to help Federal employers comply with such regulations, National Safety Compliance has developed many OSHA compliant safety training materials.

Friday, January 13, 2012

National Emphasis Program

OSHA issues new National Emphasis Program
for chemical facilities

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a new National Emphasis Program* (NEP) for chemical facilities to protect workers from catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals.

"Far too many workers are injured and killed in preventable incidents at chemical facilities around the country," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This program will enable OSHA inspectors to cover chemical facilities nationwide to ensure that all required measures are taken to protect workers."

The new NEP replaces OSHA's 2009 pilot Chemical Facility National Emphasis Program which covered several OSHA regions around the country. The program* establishes policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that are covered by OSHA's process safety management (PSM) standard. The program's inspection process includes detailed questions designed to gather facts related to PSM requirements and verification that employers' written and implemented PSM programs are consistent. The intent of the NEP is to conduct focused inspections at facilities randomly selected from a list of worksites likely to have highly hazardous chemicals in quantities covered by the standard.

OSHA implemented a multi-year pilot NEP for PSM-covered facilities in July 2009 in an effort to reduce releases of highly hazardous chemicals. "During our pilot Chemical NEP we found many of the same safety-related problems that were uncovered during our NEP for the refinery industry, which is also covered by the PSM standard," said Michaels. "As a result, we are expanding the enforcement program to a national level to increase awareness of these dangers so that employers will more effectively prevent the release of highly hazardous chemicals."

OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Web page on Process Safety Management contains information on PSM for general industry and construction, guidance on how to develop a process hazard analysis, and OSHA requirements for preventing the release of hazardous chemicals.

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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

OMB Approval: General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment; Approval of Information Collection Requirements

OSHA is announcing that OMB approved the collection of information requirements contained in the General Working Conditions Standard under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The OMB approval number is 1218-0259.

DATES: The rule is effective January 3, 2012. The final rule, published May 2, 2011 (76 FR 24576), became effective and enforceable on August 1, 2011, except for the provisions in Sec. 1915.89, which became effective and enforceable on October 31, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Theda Kenney, OSHA, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2222.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OSHA published a final rule for General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment on May 2, 2011 (76 FR 24576), updating existing requirements to reflect advances in industry practices and technology, consolidating some general safety and health requirements into one subpart, and providing hazardous energy protection not addressed in the existing standard.

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Register notice for the General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment final rule stated that compliance with the collection of information requirements was not required until OMB approved these requirements, and that the Department of Labor would publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that OMB approved and assigned a control number to the requirements. See 76 FR 24695. Under 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless: (1) The collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number, and (2) the agency informs those members of the public who must respond to the collection of information that they are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

On May 2, 2011, OSHA submitted the General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment (29 CFR part 1915, subpart F) Information Collection Request for the final rule to OMB for approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). On October 31, 2011, OMB approved the collections of information contained in the final rule and assigned this collection OMB Control Number 1218- 0259.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1915

Occupational safety and health, reporting, Recordkeeping requirements, Hazards in general working condition in shipyard employment.