Tag Archives: OSHA

Slope it. Shore it. Shield it.

October 18, 2018

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OSHA issued a press release announcing that it has updated the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on preventing trenching and excavation collapses in response to a recent spike in trenching fatalities.  The NEP will increase education and enforcement efforts.  The program began on October 1, 2018 with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach.  During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities.  OSHA-approved State Plans are expected to have enforcement procedures that are at least as effective as those in this NEP.

OSHA has a number of compliance assistance materials to help, including:

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Electronic Submission of Injury & Illness Records to OSHA

June 20, 2018

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) deadline for submitting 2017 OSHA Form 300A data is July 1, 2018, for establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries. The Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is accessible from the ITA launch page, where you are able to provide your 2017 OSHA Form 300A information. Establishments with 250 or more are only required to provide their completed 2017 Form 300A summary data. OSHA is not accepting Form 300 and 301 information at this time.

(According to the OSHA website, OSHA announced it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” final rule, including the collection of the Forms 300/301 data. The Agency is currently drafting that NPRM and will seek comment on those provisions.)

Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

See answers to more frequently asked questions on the rule.

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OSHA Reporting Deadline – Update

December 19, 2017

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You may recall our recent blog post on OSHA’s new online reporting requirements. Last Friday, December 15th, had been the cut-off date for submitting your information. On Monday December 18th OSHA issued a press release indicating they would continue to accept electronic reporting of the mandatory information until midnight on December 31, 2017. OSHA will not take action against employers who submit their logs between now and the 31st. However, effective January 1, 2018 you will no longer be able to submit your 2016 data.

Working with various clients over the past few days, a few questions consistently came up among several:

What is an establishment?
For recordkeeping purposes OSHA defines an establishment as “a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed” for one year or longer. For online recording, this establishment is also required to exceed 20 employees at some point in the reporting year. You will need to report your required information for EACH INDIVIUAL ESTABLISHMENT.

If the establishment is fewer than 20 employees AT ALL TIMES during the year, do I need to submit my information online?
No. However, you continue to keep a log for any facility that is in operations for longer than 1 year.

What if I am part of a state OSHA program?
To further complicate matters, OSHA approved state plans have not yet adopted the requirements. It is our understanding the state plans will adopt the requirements within 6 months of publication of the final rule.

Where do I create an account and submit my data?
On the Injury Tracking Application Page.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this information please reach out to the J.W. Terrill Loss Control department at losscontrol@jwterrill.com.

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Medical Requirements of the OSHA Silica Rule

December 6, 2017

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The new OSHA rule governing respirable crystalline silica calls for medical surveillance screenings to allow for identification of silica exposure-related health effects in your workers. But who exactly must be surveilled, when and how often do you conduct the surveillance?

For purposes of this article, our focus is the construction industry.  This new rule requires that medical surveillance be made available to employees who use respirators for 30 or more days per year in situations where those respirators are required by OSHA for protection against silica hazards.

Of course, our first question is – how do you count a day?  OSHA offered some clarification of this in their enforcement guidelines issued earlier this fall.  These guidelines stated that even on days that employees wear a respirator for only a portion of the day; are counted as full days towards the medical surveillance requirements.   It should be noted that progression toward the 30 day rule resets with every new employer.  The only exception is when you hire, release, and re-hire the same employee for several short-term assignments during a year, with a day count totaling 30 days or more.

Now, you have an employee who you know needs to be included in the medical surveillance and you ask yourself – what does that entail?

First, you must select a medical provider who is capable of providing an exam which will include the following components –

  • A review of the patient’s history – work and medical
  • A physical examination with an emphasis on the respiratory system
  • A chest x-ray interpreted and classified according to the International Labour Office (ILO) International Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconiosis by a NIOSH-certified B Reader
  • A pulmonary function test administered by a spirometry technician with a current certificate from a NIOSH-approved course
  • Testing for latent tuberculosis
  • Any additional tests deemed appropriate by the provider

It is your responsibility as the employer to provide the physician with –

  • A copy of the exposure standards in the OSHA respirable crystalline silica rule
  • A description of the employee’s former, current, and anticipated duties as they relate to the employee’s occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica
  • The employee’s former, current, and anticipated levels of occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica
  • A description of personal protective equipment used or to be used by the employee, including when it will be work and for how long the employee
  • Information from records of employment-related medical examinations previously provided to the employee and currently within the control of the employer

Once the exam is completed, you will obtain a written medical opinion from the physician which contains:

  • The date of the exam
  • A statement that the exam has specifically checked for silica exposure according to the requirements of the standard
  • Any recommended limitations on the employee’s exposure to respirable crystalline silica

Remember, this baseline examination must be made available within 30 days of initial assignment, unless the employee can show they received an examination that meets the requirements of this section within the past three years.  In addition, you must also conduct this same exam at least every three years and more frequently if recommended by your healthcare provider.

If you have any questions regarding this information or any other safety and health topic please contact the Loss Control Department at J.W. Terrill – losscontrol@jwterrill.com.

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OSHA Reporting Deadline Approaching

November 29, 2017

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the deadline for submitting OSHA 300 form information, required under the Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule.

The new enforcement date of December 15, 2017 is quickly approaching. The Injury tracking Application (ITA) is accessible from the ITA launch page. This application is where you can provide OSHA the required elements of your 2016 OSHA forms.

As a reminder, establishments with 250 or more employees who are required to keep record of injuries and illnesses and establishments with 20-249 employees in high hazard industries must participate in this new rule. If you have 250 or more employees you must submit your OSHA 300 log, 300A summary and associated 301 forms for 2016. If you have 20-249 employees in a referenced high hazard industry you must only submit your 300A summary for 2016. Moving forward, employers will be required to submit their information each year by July 1st.

You can access detail directions and frequently asked questions regarding this new rule on the ITA launch page or feel free to contact the Loss Control Department at losscontrol@jwterrill.com.

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OSHA Extends Deadline for Submission of Form 300A information

November 28, 2017

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OSHA has delayed the requirement for employers to submit their 2016 recordkeeping information until December 15th. You can read the full details here, and as always, if you have any questions regarding this information please reach out to the J.W. Terrill Loss Control Department at losscontrol@jwterrill.com.

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OSHA Delays Deadline for Crane Operator Certification

November 13, 2017

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OSHA announced they are delaying the deadline for employers’ to ensure that crane operators are certified to operate cranes.  The deadline for the certification of operators has been postponed by one year until November 10, 2018. You can find all the details here.

Contact the J.W. Terrill loss control department at losscontrol@jwterrill.com with any questions or concerns.

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Navigating Silica-Don’t be Caught in the Dust

October 24, 2017

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As we have been discussing these last few months, the new silica standard in construction establishes an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit of 50 µg/m3 and action level of 25 µg/m3. OSHA has been enforcing the standard since September 23rd, but, for the first 30 days OSHA was offering compliance assistance in lieu of enforcement for employers making good faith effort to comply. Effective October 23rd OSHA began fully enforcing all provisions of the standard. Until a compliance directive becomes available OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) are using interim enforcement guidance. This document demonstrates how the CSHO will check for compliance of the new silica standard in the field. The interim guidance will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field CSHOs.

In addition, due to the new requirements silica exposures, OSHA has revoked their national emphasis program on crystalline silica. However the inspection procedures for both general industry and maritime will remain unchanged until the compliance date for these industries begin on June 23, 2018.

Materials like stone, asphalt and concrete contain crystalline silica. Activities such as abrasive blasting, cutting, sanding or drilling these materials can result in exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust. It is highly recommended to use controls available for some of these tasks outlined in Table 1 of the silica standard. The enforcement guidance states that if the employer fully and properly implement the engineering controls, work practices and respiratory protection listed in the table, it is not required for the CSHO to conduct exposure assessments of the work environment.

For contractors performing tasks outside of Table 1, OSHA has outlined alternative control measures to protect employees from silica exposure. If you are performing a task that falls outside of Table 1, and the compliance officer feels there is potential exposure, they will review your sampling data and control plan.  In addition, they will perform their own exposure assessment to determine the 8-hour TWA for the operations.

For both control measures, Table 1 or alternative controls, there are other requirements of the standard that include:

  • Establishing and implement a written exposure control plan which identifies task and procedures to restrict access to work areas were high exposure may occur.  Per the enforcement guidance document OSHA compliance officers are required to review the written plan along with any other related programs such as a hazard communications program and a respiratory protection plan.
  • Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.  It should be noted that employees working onsite should be familiar with who this competent person is if asked.
  • Offer medical exams that include chest x-rays and lung function test. This must be performed every three years for workers who are required to wear a respirator for 30 days or more per year.
  • Train workers on operations that result in silica exposures and what is the limit exposure.
  • Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

As always if additional assistance is needed please reach out to the J.W. Terrill Loss Control department at losscontrol@jwterrill.com.

 

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OSHA Proposes to Delay Compliance Date for Electronically Submitting Injury Data

July 12, 2017

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed a delay in the electronic reporting compliance date of the rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 1, 2017. The proposed delay will allow OSHA an opportunity to further review and consider the rule.

The agency published the final rule on May 12, 2016, and has determined that a further delay of the compliance date is appropriate for the purpose of additional review into questions of law and policy.  The delay will also allow OSHA to provide employers the same four-month window for submitting data that the original rule would have provided.

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.

This bulletin is strictly advisory. It should not be intended as, nor should it be construed as legal advice.

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Construction Safety Update: Crystalline Silica Standard

May 2, 2017

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OSHA has announced that they will delay enforcing the crystalline silica standard on the construction industry. This delay is due to the need of additional training for employers to understand the complexities of the new standard. The original date of enforcement was set to be June 23, 2017, but has now been changed to September 23, 2017.

Since employers have the responsibility of providing safe and healthy workplaces for their employees, construction employers should continue to take steps to be in compliance with the new allowable exposure limit. This can be done through training as wells as employee supervision.

For any questions or concerns please contact J.W. Terrill’s Loss Control Department at: losscontrol@jwterrill.com.

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OSHA Further Extends Anti-Retaliation Provisions

October 27, 2016

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OSHA_logoOSHA has announced that it will again delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its injury and illness tracking rule until December 1, 2016.  This extended deadline is in response to a request from a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas who is presiding over the legal challenge of the new rule.

Employers now have until December 1, 2016 to comply with OSHA’s anti-retaliation provisions, which require employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; to implement reasonable procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that do not discourage employees from reporting work-related injuries or illnesses and prohibit employers from retaliating or discriminating against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.

For more information you can view OSHA’s notice.

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New OSHA Reporting and Drug Testing Rules

June 30, 2016

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OSHA_logoOn May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a rule that will revise its Recording and Reporting of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulations. The changes establish a new system in which many employers will be required to submit to OSHA reportable injury and illness information on an annual basis through a secure website. That information will then be published in a searchable and publicly accessible online database.

At this time, the secure website is not available for viewing, but here are the reporting requirements that OSHA has outlined:

Establishments with 250 or more employees July 1, 2017 – submit information from Form 300A July 1, 2018 – submit information from all forms (300A, 300, and 301) Beginning in 2019 all form information must be submitted by March 2 each year

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries July 1, 2017 – Submit information from Form 300A July 1, 2018 – Submit information from Form 300A Beginning in 2019 all form information must be submitted by March 2 each year

To determine if your industry falls in one of these high-risk industries, please click here – certain high-risk industries.

Establishments with fewer than 20 employees Do not have to routinely submit information electronically to OSHA.

Remember, these are establishment sizes not corporation sizes.  Recordkeeping information is maintained at the establishment level with an establishment defined as a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed in duration of one year or longer. In order to determine if you need to provide OSHA with the required data for any of your establishments, determine that establishment’s peak employment during the last calendar year.

In addition to electronic reporting, the rules make dramatic changes to OSHA’s retaliation and discrimination enforcement abilities, which go into effect on November 1, 2016.

Under the new “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule, OSHA implies that post-accident drug testing may be a violation of the anti-relation provisions.  There is discussion that post-accident testing encourages employees to not report work related injuries and illnesses for fear of the post accident screening.  OSHA’s preamble to the rule says this about post-accident testing:

“The final rule does prohibit employers from using drug testing (or the threat of drug testing) as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses. To strike the appropriate balance here, drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use. For example, it would likely not be reasonable to drug-test an employee who reports a bee sting, a repetitive strain injury, or an injury caused by a lack of machine guarding or a machine or tool malfunction. Such a policy is likely only to deter reporting without contributing to the employer’s understanding of why the injury occurred, or in any other way contributing to workplace safety.”

As with any new OSHA regulation, time will tell how it is enforced in the field.  After speaking with various insurance carrier Risk Control employees, representatives from two OSHA offices and a local labor attorney, it seems as if everyone is encouraging employers to keep their current drug testing program in place.

The initial indication of enforcement seems to say that OSHA does not want to discourage post-incident testing and that employer’s should be consistent with their post-incident testing procedures.  The overwhelming opinion is that additional comments will be released from OSHA on this topic in the near future.  In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact the J.W. Terrill loss control department at losscontrol@jwterrill.com with any questions or concerns.

 

This bulletin is strictly advisory. It should not be intended as, nor should it be construed as legal advice.

The information contained within does not imply or guarantee full compliance with Local, State, or Federal regulations.

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