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New Year, New OSHA Regulations


What’s new and changing with OSHA regs in 2015? As with any New Year comes time for reflection, new goals and areas for improvement. And like anyone else OSHA has some plans for 2015. This year will bring with it new regulations in the beginning middle and end and a Regulatory Agenda full of industry pain points, gaps and severe violator enforcement. It will be an important year to keep up with OSHA.

Once the clock hits 12 on New Year’s the new standards for injury & illness reporting go into effect. What you need to know about the updates to this record keeping rule is simple.

What needs to be reported to OSHA?

  • All employers must report: all work-related fatalities within 8 hours, all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations and all losses of an eye within 24 hours.
  • Reports to OSHA can be made by calling OSHA’s free and confidential number at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), calling your closest Area Office during normal business hours or using the new online form that will soon be available.
  •  Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported to OSHA. Further, for an in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye, these incidents must be reported to OSHA only if they occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident.

Who is exempt from keeping records?

GHS deadlines will also greet industries in 2015. June 1, 2015 will require all manufacturers and distributors to have complied with all modified provisions of the final rule, including:

  • Have SDS (Safety Data Sheets) on file for each hazardous chemical available
  • Train employees about new elements and formatting for potential hazards
  • Have a written hazard communication program for employees and visitors
  • Properly label hazardous chemical containers
  • Maintain reports, records and logs about the entire program
  • Report this information to a state agency (if required by your state)

December will round out the year for GHS deadlines, starting on the first of the month Distributors will no longer be able to ship products with old system labels, and all new shipments must be up to date with the new standards.

Other agenda areas to look out from OSHA in 2015 include a few final rules on confined spaces in construction in the month of March where they currently only exist for general industry, and further into the year in June OSHA will look to try and finalize Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems rules that have been open since 1990.

OSHA has taken an ambitious stance for the upcoming year which should send the message to all about how they are making worker safety their main priority in all industries. With an agenda full of final rules, proposed rules and strengthened enforcement efforts, 2015 will not be a good year to fall behind on regulatory information that applies to your business.

Think you might need some help sorting through all the information? Contact Emedco about our client services today, and as always follow the Emedco blog for safety news notifications and important information on workplace safety.


Create an Effective Safety Committee


Encouraging workers to take an interest in the administrative side of their work is not always an easy sell. Many have the mentality of wanting change but having someone else make it happen. Getting a workplace to come together to make a facility a more enjoyable and safe environment is important to its success long term and a safety committee is a great place to start.

Creating a safety committee in your business brings together all departments for the common goal of increasing communication and improving working conditions. A complete safety committee should consist of representatives from areas of your business such as upper management, safety managers, workers on the floor, workers in the field, shipping, facility maintenance, and administration.

A safety committee should: encourage employees to take ownership of how the business runs, help reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses and ensure compliance. When first starting a committee it can be a source of frustration if not handled correctly, don’t let hostility and failure of management occur in your committee.

  • Set an agenda
  • Meet monthly same time, same day, same place
  • Provide a forum for healthy issue recognition discussion and resolution in a collaborative environment
  • Set goals and apply duties that fall within the committees responsibilities, duties could include training, safety inspections, reviewing safety policies
  • Have members come to the meeting with questions or topics of discussion to jumpstart interaction
  • Some state-plan OSHA states may require safety committees with specific provisions; company execs should verify with their regional OSHA office whether employers must have a safety committee.

The end goal of every member should be the same; to make their workplace safety and more productive. Use this goal as a solid foundation to keep everyone on the same page. Safety committees are a proven way to increase awareness communication and safety in a workplace. If your program has been derailed try implementing a committee to get it headed in the right direction for 2015.


A List You Don’t Want to Be On: OSHA’s Severe Violators Program


Fool me once shame on you fool me twice and I’ll be watching you. In an effort to cut down on the amount of companies that continue to willfully and repeatedly abate violations, putting their workers at risk, OSHA has implemented the Severe Violators Program. This program was established to concentrate resources on inspecting employers who have not held up their end of the workplace safety bargain and continue to show indifference in their safety obligations. This program replaced the Enhanced Enforcement Program from 2008.

Enforcement actions for severe violator’s cases include mandatory follow-up inspections, increased company/corporate awareness of OSHA enforcement, corporate-wide agreements, where appropriate, enhanced settlement provisions, and federal court enforcement under Section 11(b) of the OSH Act. In addition, this Instruction provides for nationwide referral procedures, which includes OSHA’s State Plan States.

Criteria for a Severe Violator Enforcement Case are as follows:

  • Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion: A fatality/catastrophe inspection in which OSHA finds one or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices based on a serious violation related to a death of an employee or three or more hospitalizations.
  • Non-Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion Related to High-Emphasis Hazards: An inspection in which OSHA finds two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices (or any combination of these violations/notices), based on high gravity serious violations related to a High-Emphasis Hazard as defined in Section XII.
  • Non-Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion for Hazards Due to the Potential Release of a Highly Hazardous Chemical (Process Safety Management): An inspection in which OSHA finds three or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices (or any combination of these violations/notices), based on high gravity serious violations related to hazards due to the potential release of a highly hazardous chemical, as defined in the PSM standard.
  • Egregious Criterion: All egregious (e.g., per-instance citations) enforcement actions will be considered SVEP cases.

 Any inspection that meets one or more of these criteria can be considered as a severe violator’s case. High emphasis hazards include Fall hazards, amputation hazards, combustible dust hazards, crystalline silica hazards, lead hazards, evacuation/trenching hazards, and shipbreaking hazards. If OSHA has already cited you for one of the following be sure to take the proper steps to rid your workplace of the hazard so you don’t land your company on the OSHA Severe Violators List.

To view the OSHA Severe Violators Directive in its entirety click here: https://www.osha.gov/dep/svep-directive.pdf



Workplace Safety News Roundup


Learning from other successes and shortcomings in your industry help you to create an efficient safety plan. Find out how companies within your industry are making safety a priority and the consequences for those who aren’t. Take a look below to read the latest in workplace safety.

Highest OSHA Penalties of 2014

The list of OSHA’s proposed monetary penalties in fiscal year 2014 comprises penalties stemming from a single incident or related incidents in which one or more companies allegedly failed to adhere to safe work practices. This failure puts workers at risk – in some cases fatally. The following information was provided by OSHA on the Top 10 highest fines for alleged misconduct.

Get the list here

Texas Companies with Fatalities Not on Violator List

The boom that has brought prosperity to Texas has left a trail of death and devastation for many of the more than 100,000 workers in oil and gas exploration-related jobs. The death toll peaked at 65 in 2012 — a 10-year high and nearly 60 percent more than in 2011. Nationwide, 663 workers in oilfield-related industries were reported killed in the drilling and fracking boom from 2007 to 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 40 percent of those died in Texas.

As part of a yearlong investigation, the Houston Chronicle analyzed 18,000 injury and illness claims and reviewed OSHA data and public records on hundreds of oilfield accidents since 2007.

Read More here

OSHA Leaves Worker Safety in Hands of Industry

Some think OSHA has no interest in running a regulatory agency anymore, what’s your take on the situation?

Since George W. Bush became president, OSHA has issued the fewest significant standards in its history, public health experts say. It has imposed only one major safety rule. The only significant health standard it issued was ordered by a federal court. The agency has killed dozens of existing and proposed regulations and delayed adopting others. For example, OSHA has repeatedly identified silica dust, which can cause lung cancer, and construction site noise as health hazards that warrant new safeguards for nearly three million workers, but it has yet to require them. Read more here

OSHA Cites Employment Group after Temporary Worker Suffers Severe Electrical Shock Injuries

PLEASANT PRAIRIE, Wis. – A 24-year-old temporary maintenance employee suffered severe burns from electrical shock while on assignment working at a distribution center in Pleasant Prairie. The employee came in contact with an energized electrical source and suffered electrical shock. This caused severe burns and left the employee unable to work for more than four months after the May 19, 2014, incident.

Learn more here

Worker Suffers Serious Injury on 25th birthday at New Job, OSHA Cites Company for Exposing Employees to Dangerous Machinery

OSHA also found that the company failed to provide machine guarding on another piece of equipment not involved in the incident. The Company was previously cited for this violation at its facility in Flagler, Colorado, in 2011. In addition, four serious safety violations were cited because the company did not provide eye protection; used damaged electrical cords; failed to perform fire extinguisher education; and had unmarked exits. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Learn more here