Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hazard bulletin to safeguard tree care workers

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June 16, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA issues hazard bulletin to safeguard tree care workers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a hazard bulletin about preventing worker fatalities from falls and falling objects in tree care work.
"Too many tree care workers are being hurt or killed by well-known industry dangers that can be prevented if employers take the necessary precautions," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are protected on the job - this includes providing training and making sure workers have the right tools to stay safe." 

The hazard bulletin* details two fatal tree care incidents, one caused by a fall and the other by a falling object. In the first, OSHA's investigation found that his employer should have prevented him from being in the tree trimming area or "drop zone." In the other, a worker fell 65 feet when the trunk of the tree he was working on snapped in half. OSHA determined that the employer could have prevented this incident by performing a preliminary examination of the tree before starting work.

The bulletin also lists safety precautions for employers to use before they begin any tree care operations, which include:
  • Assess the worksite for fall and falling object hazards
  • Have a qualified arborist survey the worksite
  • Determine if workers will need to climb or use aerial lifts
  • Establish drop zones where there is a hazard of falling objects
  • Take steps to protect workers from falling object hazards
  • Establish visual and audible communications with overhead and ground workers
  • Have emergency procedures in place
More information on the tree care industry can be found at www.osha.gov/treecare.
OSHA has initiated local and regional emphasis programs that focus on reducing workplace fatalities in the tree trimming industry. As part of emphasis programs in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois, OSHA will target inspections and direct outreach and compliance resources to the tree trimming and clearing industry. For more information on these emphasis programs, visit https://www.osha.gov/dep/leps/leps.html.

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 www.osha.gov.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

OSHA Trade News Release

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June 10, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA announces new interactive training webtool on identifying workplace hazards
Assistant Secretary Michaels unveils new resource at annual safety engineering conference

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today released a new interactive training tool to help small businesses effectively identify hazards in the workplace. Employers and workers can virtually explore how to identify common workplace hazards in the manufacturing and construction industries. Users of the new training tool will learn not only hazard identification skills but also learn about hazard abatement and control. 

"Hazard identification is a critical part of creating an injury and illness prevention program that will keep workers safe and healthy on the job," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "This new tool not only educates employers about how to take control of their workplaces and protect workers, it also demonstrates that following well-established safety practices is also good for the bottom line." Assistant Secretary Michaels announced the new tool today at the American Society of Safety Engineers conference in Orlando, Fla.
OSHA Hazard Identification
Through the hazard identification tool, users can play from the perspective of either a business owner or an employee as they learn to identify realistic, common hazards and address them with practical and effective solutions. The tool explains the key components of the hazard identification process, which include information collection, observation of the workplace, investigation of incidents, employee participation and prioritizing hazards.
OSHA developed the tool in conjunction with its Training Institute to assist small business owners in effectively identifying hazards in their workplace. The hazard identification training tool can be found on OSHA's website at www.osha.gov/hazfinder. To view the game trailer, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj_IqaWSbKo&feature=youtu.be.For additional compliance assistance resources visit www.osha.gov.

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 www.osha.gov.

Friday, June 6, 2014

1Million Workers Expected to Participate in National Fall Safety Stand-Down

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Release: 14-997-NAT
Date: June 2, 2014
Contact:     Lauren North
Phone:     202-693-4655
Email: : north.lauren.a@dol.gov
More than 1M workers expected to participate
in National Fall Safety Stand-Down

OSHA partners with 25K businesses to prevent falls in construction and save lives

I worked construction for 10 years before my fall. It shattered my body and my livelihood. Work safety. Use the right equipment. Safety Pays. Falls Cost. Falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented!
WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of employers and more than 1 million workers across the country are expected to join the Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week in safety stand-downs to focus on preventing fatalities from falls. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, with hundreds of workers dying each year and thousands more facing serious injuries. Lack of fall protection is also the most frequently cited OSHA violation, proving that these deaths are preventable when employers provide the right safety equipment and properly train workers how to use it. Starting today and continuing throughout the week, a record number of companies and workers around the country are voluntarily stopping work to talk about fall prevention. Stand-Down participants are encouraged to share their experiences on Twitter by using #StandDown4Safety and tagging @USDOL.

"This is an unprecedented event. Tens of thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of workers across the country have joined our campaign to save lives and prevent fatal falls in the construction industry," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "The economy is on the rebound, housing starts are on the rise and the summer construction season is getting underway. Now is the time to focus on this vital safety issue and make sure all construction workers come home at the end of every workday." 

Throughout the week-long Stand-Down, employers and workers will pause during their workday to focus on the hazards of falls and preventing them. Industry and business leaders, including universities, labor organizations, and community and faith-based groups, have scheduled stand-downs in all 50 states and across the world. For example, the University of Texas at Arlington is joining OSHA staff and Balfour Beatty Construction to kick off events across the state of Texas today. Clark Construction Group LLC will also host a stand-down at the Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. While on Wednesday, June 4, NASCAR race car driver Greg Biffle will be at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, to demonstrate fall protection at the facility, which is currently under construction. In addition, the U.S. Air Force will be hosting fall stand-downs at bases worldwide.

"Falls cause immense pain and suffering when they happen, and we must do everything we can to stop them," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "The good news is that they are preventable with three easy steps: the best protection is to plan ahead, ensure workers have the right equipment and train each worker to use it." 


"Preventing falls benefits everyone, from the worker, to the employer, to the community at large. This safety Stand-Down serves as an important opportunity for everyone to take the time to learn how to recognize and prevent fall hazards," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard.

The National Safety Stand-Down Web page provides details on: how to conduct a stand-down; receive a certificate of participation; and access free education and training resources, fact sheets and other outreach materials in English and Spanish. For a list of stand-down events free and open to the public, please visit the Stand-Down calendar of events. This is not a comprehensive list of all events taking place across the country.
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.gov/StopFallsStandDown/.

Monday, June 2, 2014

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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez Press Statement
National Safety Stand-Down Press Call
June 2, 2014

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us to discuss this serious safety issue for American workers.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Almost 300 construction workers died in falls in 2012 -- that's nearly one every day. Thousands more were seriously injured. These are senseless tragedies that are preventable -- through planning at the worksite and by providing proper fall protection and training on how to use it.

This week, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is partnering with tens of thousands of businesses for a national safety "stand-down" to stop fatal falls. During Stand-Down events, a record number of companies and workers nationwide will voluntarily pause work to raise awareness about fall hazards and how to prevent them.

These events will run throughout the week all across the country. We estimate that more than a million workers and over 25,000 businesses will participate. This is an unprecedented effort and we want the outcome - in the form of fewer fatal accidents -- to be unprecedented as well. Never before have we been able to reach such a large number of people with a single worker safety initiative, and it couldn't come at a more vital time.

With the economy recovering and housing starts on the rise, this is the moment to ensure that no one has to lose their life in order to make a living. The summer construction season is underway as we speak. Now is the moment to make sure those who build our homes are able to return safe and sound to their own homes every night.

And this isn't just about the construction industry. Fatal falls and injuries touch workers in all kinds of jobs across the country. It's a widespread problem that has a devastating impact not only on workers and their families, but on our economy. The record number of people mobilizing for this Stand-Down just underscores what we can all accomplish when we work together.

The U.S. Air Force will be hosting fall stand-down events at their bases worldwide -- so we can ensure the job safety of the men and women who keep us safe every day. At the Daytona Speedway, where a massive renovation project is currently underway, NASCAR driver Greg Biffle will emphasize the importance of fall safety by strapping on a fall arrest system rather than strapping into his car.

These are just a few examples of innovative stand-down activities taking place this week. Working with labor unions, business leaders, community groups, universities and safety and health professionals, we can make a real difference in preventing falls. We can Stand-Down for Safety and we can save lives.