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FAQ: What’s Coming in 2016 Workplace Safety?


Silica, recordkeeping, GHS, skills gap, OSHA fines: who can keep track of all the workplace safety news rumblings happening at any given time. When it comes to the matter of what is fact and what is fiction sometimes it is a little difficult to tell. While all of these topics are important let’s focus on the information you need to know for 2016.

Will the Aging Workforce Issue Continue to Have A Greater Impact?

The difference between having workers and having skilled workers is night and day. Someone who has been working on a machine for 30 years is clearly going to be able to offer a lot more expertise on how to best maintain it than those with just a few months or even years under their belt. The skills gap has been a major buzzword in the manufacturing industry for awhile now and all signs point to it only gaining more steam in the years to come. According to the manufacturing institute over the next decade 3.5 million jobs will likely need filling of which 2 million we go unfilled due to the growing skills gap. While some ignore the skills gap all together others are figuring out ways to retain their older workers for longer through ergonomics and new “advisory” positions.

Is OSHA Really Increasing Their Fines by Increase 80%?

Yes indeed they are, as a result of the passing of the new budget signed by President Obama,OSHA fines will be increasing by 80% all at once, to catch up with inflation adjustments dating back to 1990.  This will raise max penalties for willful violations from $70,000 to $127,000 and max serious violation fines from $7,000 to $12,477. Adjustments will occur before August 1, 2016.

I Thought All of the GHS Deadlines Passed Already, Why Are We Still Talking About It?

GHS deadlines began back in 2013 starting with employers being responsible for training their employees on the impending changes to chemical labeling and SDS formatting. Since then, manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers have been required to stop shipping all products labeled using old formatting. Unfortunately when upstream suppliers missed their deadlines this made it more difficult to others to continue to meet their requirements.  As of June 1, 2016 all companies are required to be fully transitioned over to the new system, No Matter What.

What is the Latest with the Silica Regulation, Will Changes Happen in 2016?

Since OSHA started talking about making changes to the silica standard, it has had a difficult time every step of the way. Silica is really “just the tip of the iceberg”. This topic of discussion opens up broader concerns about permissible exposure limits on all harmful chemicals, many of which haven’t been updated in 10, 20, or 30 years! Then, there is also the concern that OSHA drastically underestimated what it would cost the construction industry to implement the changes necessary under the new rule, by as much as a whopping $4.5 BILLION a year. Needless to say this rule faces much opposition but OSHA is hoping to push it through sometime within the next year or year and a half. Stay tuned for what is sure to be, more to come on this issue.

Is OSHA Going to Make it so Companies Have to Electronically Update a Public Injury and Illness Database?

OSHA has had a lot of traction, in the realm of recordkeeping, with the new implementation of rules at the beginning of 2015 around injury and illness reporting what needs to be reported and under what timeframe. In hopes of keeping that positive momentum going they now focus their attention on two other recordkeeping rules; they will require many companies to regularly report their documentation for public record and clarify an employers’ responsibility for an injury in their workplace and eliminating OSHA’s 6 month statute of limitation on citing them. OSHA hopes to get these rules wrapped up by this time next year.

Tips: 4 Workplace Safety Training Retention Tips and Tricks


Training is mandatory but man oh man is it difficult to get your workers to remember anything. In one ear and out the other, back to daydreaming about this weekend’s football lineup, am I right? So how is it that we can make our workers want to listen, after all safety training is for THEIR own protection?

While training is for their own benefit, it is difficult to pay attention and retain information when you’re being talked at for long periods of time about dry topics like OSHA standards and the different types of fall protection.

Get Creative and Make Things Interesting!  If you’re bored with the things that are coming out of your mouth chances are your audience is also. Make your trainings interactive, encourage audience participation, heck make your trainings into a game show or a scavenger hunt if that will help. This may take some prep work up front but once you have a good system in place, this might just make your workers look forward to training’s.

Make Most Important Information Retainable! How do you remember things? Does it have anything to do with longwinded speeches? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no and your trainings shouldn’t either. Most people retain information provided in small chunks with memorable over arching themes. Take the top 10 takeaways from your training and make up an acronym for them and most importantly if you have a multicultural workforce make sure you are providing information in a way that all of your workers will understand.

Tackle the “It Could Never Be Me” Mindset!  If your workers are like most people, they see tragedy on t.v. on a daily basis and have become desensitized to the possibility that anything bad could ever actually happen to them. Take that thinking away from them. Show them examples of real tragedy, if you have accidents or near misses that have occurred in your facility even better. Instead of telling your workers about the consequences show them!

You’ve Trained Them, Now What? Training is only the first step in your workers actually retaining what they have learned. Make sure to follow up with them after the fact. Visit them in the actual environment they are working in and hold a refresher course. Reiterating the main takeaways of your teachings, on the job while your workers are performing the actual activities that you had spoken about will help them to remember the safety processes better and how they fit into their work flow.

Is There A Tie Between Workplace Safety and Community?

Work Safety and Community

An interesting thought: how much of worker safety should be a priority for their employer. While workers spend most of the time in the workplace, once they leave do they forget the basics of their safety training? Also, if workplaces have effective safety training in place, do workers remember the important principles and apply them in their personal life? And lastly, if workplaces invest in creating a healthy community around them does that in turn provide them with a better candidate pool when looking to fill positions?

If you asked most workers I doubt they would be jumping for joy at the prospect of their employer trying to control what they do outside of work.  The word “control” makes all the difference. While workplaces should not try and force their way into the decision making process of their workers in their free time perhaps a company that is more involved in community enrichment projects will experience a return on investment. A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation points to suggesting this very idea that “workers in poor health tend to be located in U.S. counties with poor health” which suggests the opposite is also true.

Do you think workplaces have an obligation to the communities that they call home? Do you agree with the findings of this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or are the health choices and condition of those in a community solely because of how those people choose to live their lives?


Workplace Safety News Roundup

Workplace Safety News

Keeping track of new OSHA regulations and taking advantage of supplemental safety training and reading materials makes a big difference in the success of the programs you implement in your workplace. Seeing what others are doing both for the better and worse help mold an all encompassing safety initiative. Here is a sampling of some of the news buzzing around workplace safety this month.

Case Study: When Safety Issues Pile Up, It Could Mean Closing Your Doors

When safety procedure failures begin to pile up it gets even more difficult to get out from under them, as a Texas based creamery just found out first hand. Demands don’t stop for lost fingers, threats of contamination or broken down/ nonexistent lockout procedures.

When you are a smaller company on the cusp of hitting it big, the last thing you want to do is shut down production for maintenance, and as stress and the pressure of producing builds, so do the signs of trouble ahead.

Read More Here

Are These Holiday Hazards Around Your Workplace?

Those bells will be ringing soon enough. The holidays are upon us, so what does that have to do with your workplace safety planning?

If you are part of a facility that hires temp workers for busy season, has an increase of grounds traffic or just likes to take part in the holiday festivities with decorations of any kind, there are important steps your facility should be taking to make sure everyone makes it through the season all shiny and bright.

Read More Here

It’s Going to Cost You More For Those OSHA Safety Violations

How does an 80% increase in OSHA fines sound? Legislation has already been agreed upon by Republicans in Congress and the Obama administrations which implies that this is a done deal.

This “catch up adjustment” will come all at once and dates back to the last time OSHA fines were increased in 1990.

All that is left now before the bill is made official is…

Read More Here

Eliminate 11 Workplace Hazards Through Facility Maintenance

The last thing anyone is worrying about this time of year is if the floor has been properly swept in the last week. While housekeeping often falls to the bottom of the priority list during busy times throughout the year, it is an essential part of any efficient facility.

When a facility has a well thought out plan for workplace housekeeping and maintenance these 11 hazards are virtually eliminated.

Read More Here

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