Thursday, May 30, 2013

Safety stand-down at worksites in southeast for heat-related illnesses

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Region 4 News Release: 13-1012-ATL (112)
May 30, 2013
Contact: Michael D'Aquino    Lindsay Williams
Phone: 404-562-2076    404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov    williams.lindsay.l@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA announces June 4 safety stand-down at
work sites throughout Southeast to focus on heat-related illnesses and injuries 

ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with trade associations and employers throughout Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, will conduct a one-hour safety stand-down at construction sites and workplaces on Tuesday, June 4, to raise awareness about the dangers of working in the summer heat. Workers will voluntarily stop work from 7 to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct safety training focused on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventive steps to take while working in the hot weather.
Every year, thousands of workers nationwide suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed - on average - more than 30 workers annually since 2003. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps. It can quickly become heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple prevention steps are not followed.
"This stand-down is intended for all those working in hot weather, such as workers in agriculture, construction, baggage handling, roofing and landscaping, and others who work outdoors," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast. "It is the employer's responsibility to protect workers from injury and illness."

In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additionally, a Web page provides information and resources on heat illness, including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency, for workers and employers. The page is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html

OSHA has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms, Blackberry and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish by visiting http://s.dol.gov/RI.

You can register for the stand-down event at the Associated General Contractors of America Inc. Georgia branch's website, at http://www.agcga.org/cs/safety_stand_down_program/safety_stand_down_on_heat_illnesses_june_25_2013

An informational flyer and toolbox, in English and Spanish, are also available on the website.
Members of the public interested in more information about OSHA's heat illness prevention campaign or to obtain copies of heat illness prevention-related publications should contact their local OSHA Office. To locate an OSHA office, visit http://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Intent to extend compliance date for Crane operator requirements

May 22, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999
OSHA announces intent to extend compliance date for crane
operator certification requirements

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced that it will propose to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.
 
OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work on Aug. 9, 2010. The standard requires crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After OSHA issued the standard, a number of parties raised concerns about the qualification/certification requirements. OSHA is considering addressing these concerns through a later separate rulemaking. The agency will propose to extend the compliance date so that the qualification/certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the construction industry.

OSHA held three stakeholder meetings on operator certification/qualification issues in April 2013 and posted detailed notes of the meetings at http://www.osha.gov/cranes-derricks/stakeholders.html, a Web page devoted to the stakeholder meeting. The agency also plans to post a list of frequently asked questions on its Cranes and Derricks in Construction Web page to provide additional clarification and address some comments and concerns raised by stakeholders.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Youth Workers: Know the Rules

Federal law establishes certain safety standards and restrictions for young workers. If you are not yet 18, you are prohibited from being employed in occupations that have been declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. There may be some exceptions that apply to your particular situation, and different rules apply to work in agriculture. Be sure to check state regulations for young workers and the OSHA rules, which apply to all employees, regardless of their age.
Below is a list of occupations banned for persons under the age of 18:
  1. Manufacturing or storing of explosives;
  2. Driving a motor vehicle or working as an outside helper on motor vehicles (More information on Hazardous Occupation #2, driving on the job and Distracted Driving);
  3. Coal mining;
  4. Forest fire fighting and forest fire prevention, timber tract, forestry service, and occupations in logging and sawmilling;
  5. Using power-driven woodworking machines (More information on woodworking);
  6. Exposure to radioactive substances and ionizing radiation;
  7. Using power-driven hoisting apparatus;
  8. Using power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines;
  9. Mining, other than coal;
  10. Using power-driven meat-processing machines, slaughtering, meat and poultry packing, processing, or rendering;
  11. Using power-driven bakery machines;
  12. Using balers, compactors, and power-driven paper-products machines (More information on using balers, compactors, and paper-products machines);
  13. Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products;
  14. Using power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs (More information on power tools);
  15. Working in wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations;
  16. Roofing and work performed on or about a roof (More information on roofing);
  17. Trenching or excavating.

Friday, May 10, 2013

OSHA establishes partnership to protect construction workers at University of Chicago research center project

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established a strategic partnership with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and W.E. O'Neil Construction Co. to reduce workers' exposure to hazards and the likelihood of serious injuries. The Illinois On-Site Consultation Program of the Illinois Department of Labor is also participating in the partnership, which covers the University of Chicago William Eckert Research Center Project.
"This voluntary strategic partnership is focused on identifying and controlling hazards, improving safety and health programs, promoting a cooperative relationship between labor, unions and management, and encouraging employee participation in achieving a safe and healthful workplace during the construction of this research center," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "The agreement will require all workers to be covered by an effective employer safety and health program and to attend a project/safety orientation."
The William Eckert Research Center project is a four-story, $170 million project, scheduled to be completed in 2015. OSHA will work with all companies and management involved in the project to promote safety programs and work methods using the latest technologies and the safest available methods.
The W.E. O'Neil Construction Co. is the general contractor on the project. The company will develop a site- specific safety program and require all prime contractors on the project to provide on-site safety representatives, conduct regular safety audits, attend a specific safety orientation given by O'Neil personnel and conduct daily huddle and safety meetings to share safety concerns and implement best practices.
Through its Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA works with employers, workers, professional and trade associations, labor organizations and other interested stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.
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 http://www.osha-safety-training.net

Friday, May 3, 2013

OSHA Launches initiative to protect temporary workers

OSHA has announced an initiative to further protect temporary employees from workplace hazards.

A memorandum sent to the agency’s regional administrators directs field inspectors to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Inspectors will denote when temporary workers are exposed to safety and health violations and assess whether temporary workers received required training in a language and vocabulary they could understand. The memo that underscores the duty of employers to protect all workers from hazards is as follows:


April 29, 2013
MEMORANDUM FOR:
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
THROUGH:
RICHARD E. FAIRFAX
Deputy Assistant Secretary
FROM:
THOMAS GALASSI, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
SUBJECT:
Protecting the Safety and Health of Temporary Workers
In recent months, we have received a series of reports of temporary workers suffering fatal injuries during the first days on a job. In some cases, the employer failed to provide safety training or, if some instruction was given, it inadequately addressed the hazard, and this failure contributed to their death.
Given the number of temporary workers and the recent high profile fatal incidents, the agency is making a concerted effort using enforcement, outreach and training to assure that temporary workers are protected from workplace hazards. OSHA has previously addressed issues affecting temporary workers and leased employees in several letters of interpretation and directives, and has issued citations regarding lack of protection to such workers, most recently citing Bacardi Bottling Corporation following the death of a 21-year old temporary worker on his first day on the job.
Employers have a duty to provide necessary safety and health training to all workers regarding workplace hazards. In order to determine whether employers are complying with their responsibilities under the Act, please direct CSHOs in your region to determine within the scope of their inspections whether any employees are temporary workers and whether any of the identified temporary employees are exposed to a violative condition. In addition, CSHOs should assess- using records review and interviews - whether those workers have in fact received required training in a language and vocabulary they understand. Recent inspections have indicated problems where temporary workers have not been trained and were not protected from serious workplace hazards due to lack of personal protective equipment when working with hazardous chemicals and lack of lockout/tagout protections, among others.
To better identify this vulnerable population, we need your assistance gathering and tracking certain information during inspections and investigations ofworksites where temporary workers are employed. For the purposes of this information gathering, "temporary worker" includes those who are working under a host employer/staffing agency employment structure. 1
To capture this information, we have created a new OIS code for temporary workers. If a CSHO determines during inspection activity that any temporary employees are exposed to a violative condition (i.e., included in the Number of Employees Exposed drop down in OIS), the CSHO shall enter the code "TEMPWORKERS" in the Federal Strategic Initiative Program field of the OIS system.
In addition, when encountering temporary workers during the scope of an inspection, CSHOs should document the name of the temporary workers' staffing agency, the agency's location, and the supervising structure under which the temporary workers are reporting (i.e., the extent to which the temporary workers are being supervised on a day-to-day basis either by the host employer or the staffing agency).
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Should you have any questions, please contact Mary Lynn in the Office of Chemical Process Safety and Enforcement Initiatives, at lynn.mary@dol.gov. Thank you for your assistance in this new enforcement initiative.

In addition, OSHA has begun working with the American Staffing Association and employers that use staffing agencies, to promote best practices ensuring that temporary workers are protected from job hazards.
In recent months, OSHA has received a series of reports about temporary workers suffering fatal injuries – many during their first days on a job.
Last week, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries about workers killed on the job in 2011. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 542 – or 12 percent – of the 4,693 fatal work injuries reported. Hispanic/Latino contractors accounted for 28 percent of fatal work injuries among contractors, well above their 16 percent share of the overall fatal work injury total for the year. Additional details are available at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/contractor2011.pdf.