OSHA Proposes Change to Electronic Record-Keeping Rule

On July 30, OSHA submitted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would eliminate the requirement for worksites with 250 or more employees to electronically submit certain data. Continue reading to learn more.

Worksites with 250 or more employees would not be required to electronically submit certain data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under a proposal to roll back an Obama-era rule.

The Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule requires employers that are covered by OSHA's record-keeping regulations to electronically submit certain reports to the federal government. Certain establishments with 20-249 employees are required to submit only OSHA Form 300A each year—300A is a summary of workplace injuries and illnesses that many employers are required to post in the workplace from Feb. 1 until April 30 of each year.

In addition to Form 300A, larger establishments (those with 250 or more employees) were supposed to begin submitting data from Form 300 (the injury and illness log) and Form 301 (incident reports for each injury or illness) in July. However, in May, OSHA announced that it would not be accepting that information in light of anticipated changes to the rule.

As expected, on July 30, OSHA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to eliminate the requirement for large establishments to electronically submit information from Forms 300 and 301.

"OSHA has provisionally determined that electronic submission of Forms 300 and 301 adds uncertain enforcement benefits, while significantly increasing the risk to worker privacy, considering that those forms, if collected by OSHA, could be found disclosable" under the Freedom of Information Act, the agency said.

The electronic record-keeping rule has faced considerable opposition from the business community, in part because some of the data submitted will be made available to the public.

The proposed rule would also require employers to submit their employer identification numbers (EINs) when e-filing Form 300A. "Collecting EINs would increase the likelihood that the Bureau of Labor Statistics would be able to match data collected by OSHA under the electronic reporting requirements to data collected by BLS for the Survey of Occupational Injury and Illness," the agency said.

Anti-Retaliation Rules Remain

OSHA's electronic record-keeping rule also contains controversial anti-retaliation provisions. These provisions, which went into effect in December 2016, give OSHA broad discretion to cite employers for having policies or practices that could discourage employees from reporting workplace injuries and illnesses. For example, the provisions place limitations on safety incentive programs and drug-testing policies. OSHA has said that employers should limit post-accident drug tests to situations where drug use likely contributed to the incident and for which a drug test can accurately show impairment caused by drug use.

Prior to the new rules, many employers administered post-accident drug tests to all workers who were involved in an incident. The anti-retaliation provisions create another layer of ambiguity for employers, because they have to justify why they tested one person and not another, which may lead to race, gender and other discrimination claims, said Mark Kittaka, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Columbus, Ohio.

OSHA has not announced any plans to revise the electronic record-keeping rule any further. Many employer-side stakeholders were disappointed that OSHA made no effort to revise the anti-retaliation provisions, said John Martin, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Washington, D.C.

There are still undecided lawsuits in federal courts that challenged these provisions back when they were first issued but have been put on hold while revisions were pending, Martin noted. OSHA's proposed revision clearly did not resolve all of the challengers' concerns, so they are now deciding whether to ask the courts to resume litigation, he said.

What Now?

Employers should keep in mind that OSHA's electronic record-keeping rule refers to "establishment" size, not overall employer size, Kittaka said. An establishment is a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed, according to OSHA.

Large employers still need to electronically submit 300A summaries for each work establishment—office, plant, facility, yard, etc.—with 250 or more employees, Martin said. If they have work establishments with 20-249 employees and they are covered by OSHA's high-hazard establishment list, then they must also submit 300A summaries for those smaller establishments.

The proposed rule is open for public comment until Sept. 28. "OSHA made clear in the proposed rule that the agency was only seeking comments on the electronic submission and EIN" proposals, said Tressi Cordaro, an attorney with Jackson Lewis in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE: Nagele-Piazza, L (14 August 2018) "OSHA Proposes Change to Electronic Record-Keeping Rule" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/osha-proposes-change-to-electronic-record-keeping-rule.aspx/

New Workers Are at Highest Risk for Heat-Related Death

Did you know new employees or workers coming back from an extended break are at more risk of heat stroke? It is important to make sure these workers review safety procedures and gradually build up their tolerance to the heat. See the article by Dana Wilkie below and make sure your new workers are safe.

Original Post from SHRM.org

Who would you guess is most at risk for heat-related death while on the job?

It’s not necessarily older workers, first responders or those who toil outside all day.

Instead, the majority of recent heat-related deaths investigated by federal authorities involved workers who’d been on the job for three days or less.

That finding by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) highlights how important it is for employers to ensure that new workers—and returning employees who have been back to the job for a week or less—are prepared to protect themselves, OSHA authorities said.

With weather forecasters calling for above-average temperatures across much of the country this summer, the standard precautions—drink lots of water, take frequent breaks and spend time in the shade—may seem obvious. Yet those precautions may not be enough for new workers or employees returning to the job after extended time away. OSHA recommends allowing new or returning workers to gradually increase their workload and take more frequent breaks as they build up a tolerance for working in the heat.


 Construction workers make up about one-third of heat-related worker deaths, but employees who work outdoors across many industries—agriculture, landscaping, transportation, utilities, grounds maintenance, emergency response, and oil and gas operations—are at risk when temperatures go up. Additionally, indoor employees who do strenuous work or wear bulky, protective clothing and use heavy equipment are also at risk. High humidity increases the chances of heat-related maladies such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

In 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness, and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job, according to OSHA.

Under the general duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for protecting workers from hazards on the job, including extreme heat. To prevent heat-related illness and fatalities, OSHA offers these suggestions:

  • Prepare a heat acclimatization plan and medical monitoring program. Closely supervise new employees, including those who are temporary workers or returning seasonal workers, for the first 14 days on the job—or until they acclimate to the heat. Though most heat-related worker deaths occur in the first three days on the job, more than one-third occur on the first day. If someone has not worked in hot weather for at least a week, his or her body needs time to adjust.
  • Encourage workers to drink about one cup of water every 15-20 minutes, even if they say they’re not thirsty. During prolonged sweating lasting several hours, they should drink sports beverages containing electrolytes.
  • Provide shaded or air-conditioned rest areas for cooling down, and encourage workers to use them.
  • Provide workers with protective equipment and clothing, such as hats, light-colored clothing, water-cooled garments, air-cooled garments, ice-packet vests, wetted overgarments, and heat-reflective aprons or suits.
  • Be familiar with heat illness signs and symptoms, and make sure employees are, too. Some heat exhaustion signs are dizziness, headache, cramps, sweaty skin, nausea and vomiting, weakness, and a fast heartbeat. Heat stroke symptoms include: red, hot, dry skin; convulsions; fainting; and confusion. In general, any time a worker has fainted or demonstrates confusion, this represents an emergency situation.
  • Tell workers to notify a supervisor or to call 911 if they or their co-workers show signs of heat illness. Implement a buddy system where workers observe each other for early signs and symptoms of heat intolerance. Have someone stay with a worker who is suffering from the heat until help arrives.
  • Encourage supervisors and workers to download OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool on their iPhone or Android device. [https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html] This app calculates the heat index, a measurement of how hot it is when taking humidity into account. The app also has recommendations for preventing heat illness based on the estimated risk level where one is working.

Dana Wilkie is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Read original article here.

Wilkie, D. (2016, June 6). New workers are at highest risk for heat-related death [Web log post]. Retrived from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/New-Workers-Are-at-Highest-Risk-for-Heat-Related-Death.aspx

In Case of: Effective Responses to Workplace Emergencies

Original post business.com

Within sixty seconds of its launch on November 14, 1969, the Apollo 12 spacecraft was struck twice by lightning, which caused critical navigation systems and fuel cells to shut down.

A N.A.S.A. engineer who remembered his training for a similar scenario immediately recommended a fix, which saved the entire mission and quite possibly the lives of the Apollo 12 astronauts.

Four months later, those same engineers faced and successfully responded to challenges that they never anticipated with the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.

Emergencies can and do happen in every workplace, but it does not take a rocket scientist to plan for them or to fashion an intelligent response when they do happen.

Emergencies and Violence: The Stats

Workplace emergencies are not limited to high-tech or high-risk operations light rocket launches. Statistics compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal more than 23,000 employee were injured in 2013 solely from workplace assaults.

The latest data available from the BLS show that the annual rate of workplace violence has held steady for more than twenty years, and violence continues to be the second leading cause of employee fatalities after transportation accidents.

This does not even account for injuries or fatalities that result from other workplace emergencies, including fires, natural disasters, chemical spills and contamination, or civil disturbances or terrorism. In 2010, more than three million workers suffered injuries following workplace emergencies. How a business responds to emergencies is typically a function of the nature of the emergency itself.

What Is Categorized as an Emergency? 

OSHA defines a workplace emergency as an “unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down your operations; or causes physical or environmental damage”.

Most individuals might limit their concept of a workplace emergency to newsworthy, large-scale evacuations caused by natural or man-made causes, but lesser-scale emergencies are far more common. One employee might suffer an injury or a sudden medical event.

A small fire might be easily contained by sprinkler systems, but that fire will be no less disruptive of business operations than a larger conflagration. A single disgruntled individual can start an emergency situation that shuts a business down for days. If that individual is armed, the emergency becomes a national tragedy.

OSHA has issued Emergency Action Plan standards for workplace emergencies that are codified in the Federal Regulations. Those standards define, for example, when and where businesses need to have fire extinguishers, building evacuation plans, and medical emergency response protocols.

The New Focus: Armed Shooter Scenarios

Because of high-profile publicity and responses, businesses are also becoming more attuned to armed shooter scenarios. Although not without objection or controversy, some workplaces are training employees in a run/hide/fight protocol that was popularized by a video produced by the City of Houston.

The gist of that protocol is to train employees first to run from an armed assailant. If running is not possible, the employees should hide, and if hiding is impossible, only then should employees attempt to fight the assailant.

Technology can be a boon during a workplace emergency if it is used as a tool and not a solution. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) places a high priority in communication technology in emergencies. Excessive reliance on technology can be a downfall, however, if an emergency removes the option to use technology. Businesses should consider deeper contingency plans in the event that the emergency takes down their communication networks.

A Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a notification that is sent to mobile devices in cases of tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and other serious emergencies. These emergency alerts are complimentary public safety service provided by participating wireless service providers. But, if employees have trouble with cellphone reception inside their workplace, they may or may not receive these alerts.

If workplaces were able to plan for all possible workplace emergencies, then to the extent that they were anticipated those events would not be emergencies. The responses by the NASA engineers in the Apollo program are more instructive in developing an effective workplace emergency response plan.

The Apollo 12 lightning strike shows the efficacy of contingency planning for potential emergencies and trusting an employee to implement his or her training when the emergency happens.

The engineer who recommended the solution after the lightning strike was in his early twenties, but his co-workers and the ship’s crew had developed enough of a cohesive relationship and a sense of trust among themselves that they did not hesitate to implement his solution.

During the Apollo 13 mission, the entire workforce again worked cohesively toward a common purpose to develop an effective response that, almost fifty years later, remains one of NASA’s finest efforts.

A workplace will not always have the luxury of implementing thorough contingency training to prepare for an emergency. A business’s ability to survive a workplace emergency is on a par with the conduct of its regular business operations. As with other aspects of those operations, the most effective emergency response requires mutual employee trust and cohesiveness.

OSHA’s New Reporting and Recordkeeping Rule Goes into Effect on January 1, 2015

Source: ThinkHR.com

On September 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule which updates the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for injuries and illnesses, found at 29 C.F.R. 1904. The rule goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

Changes to recordkeeping requirements

Under OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation, certain covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. However, there are two classes of employers that are partially exempt from routinely keeping injury and illness records:

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year; and
  • Establishments in certain low-hazard industries.

The new rule maintains the exemption for employers with fewer than 10 employees. However, the new rule has an updated list of industries that will be partially exempt from keeping OSHA records. The previous list of partially exempt industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1996, 1997, and 1998. The new list of partially exempt industries in the updated rule is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2007, 2008, and 2009. As a result, many employers who were once exempted from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements are now required to keep records. A list of newly covered industries can be found at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/reporting_industries.html.

Changes to the reporting requirements

In addition to revising the recordkeeping requirements, the new rule expands the list of severe injuries and illnesses that employers must report to OSHA. Under the previous rule, employers were required to report the following events to OSHA:

  • All work-related fatalities.
  • All work-related hospitalizations of three or more employees.

Under the new rule, employers must report the following events to OSHA:

  • All work-related fatalities.
  • All work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees.
  • All work-related amputations.
  • All work-related losses of an eye.

For any fatality that occurs within 30 days of a work-related incident, employers must report the event within eight hours of finding out about it.

For any in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss that occurs within 24 hours of a work-related incident, employers must report the event within 24 hours of learning about it.

Employers do not have to report an event if the event:

  • Resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway, except in a construction work zone; employers must report the event if it happened in a construction work zone.
  • Occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (airplane, subway, bus, ferry, street car, light rail, train).
  • Occurred more than 30 days after the work-related incident in the case of a fatality or more than 24 hours after the work-related incident in the case of an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

Employers do not have to report an in-patient hospitalization if it was for diagnostic testing or observation only. An in-patient hospitalizationis a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.

Employers do have to report an in-patient hospitalization due to a heart attack, if the heart attack resulted from a work-related incident.

What to report

Employers reporting a fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA must report all of the following information:

  • The name of the establishment.
  • The location of the work-related incident.
  • The time of the work-related incident.
  • The type of reportable event (i.e., fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye).
  • The number of employees who suffered the event.
  • The names of the employees who suffered the event.
  • The contact person and his or her phone number.
  • A brief description of the work-related incident.

How to report

Employers can use the following three options to report an event:

  • Call the nearest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours.
  • Call the 24-hour OSHA hotline (800-321-OSHA or 800-321-6742).
  • Report an incident electronically (OSHA is developing a new means of reporting events electronically, which will be released soon and will be accessible on OSHA’s website).


It is recommended that employers familiarize themselves with the final rule and train personnel accordingly. All employers under OSHA jurisdiction, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with the new severe injury and illness reporting requirements.


Worker Fatalities Show Importance of Safety Training

Originally posted May 28, 2014 by Paul Lawton on http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com.

Today’s Advisor reports on several workplace fatalities that may have been prevented with more effective safety training.

Case studies provide real-life examples of why it is important for learners to complete safety training and apply that knowledge back on the job.

In the month of June 2013 alone, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued statements regarding citations to five companies where training might have helped save a worker’s life.

1. OSHA proposed fines of $157,000 against a plumbing company as a result of a January 16 incident in which a worker died from injuries sustained when a trench collapsed at a job site in Hastings, Nebraska. The company was cited for failing to train workers on trenching hazards and four other safety violations.

“This tragedy might have been prevented with the use of protective shoring that the company planned to bring to the job site that afternoon. All too often, compromising safety procedures has tragic consequences, and hazards like these cause numerous deaths and injuries every year,” said Bonita Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “No job should cost a worker’s life because an employer failed to properly protect and train them.”

2. OSHA also cited waste treatment facility for 22 safety and health violations and proposed $325,710 in fines as a result of a December 28 fire and explosion at the Cincinnati waste treatment facility in which a worker was fatally burned. The violations include failure to provide new training to employees assigned to handle waste materials, to train workers on the selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for protection from various materials that are part of their routine assignments, and to provide training and PPE to employees assigned to work on energized circuits.

3. Penalties totaling $116,200 were proposed against a lumber company in Timpson, Texas, stemming from a December incident in which a worker was killed after being struck by a broken band saw blade. The 17 alleged safety violations include failure to provide easily understood lockout/tagout training for energy control and to certify that energy control training was completed and current.

4. Among other things, OSHA cited a trucking company in Ross, North Dakota, for failing to train workers on chemical hazards and precautions after a worker was fatally injured on March 27 while cleaning the inside of a crude oil tanker that exploded.

5. OSHA also cited tool manufacturer for 17 safety violations, including lack of training, after a maintenance worker was electrocuted on March 6 in Fenton, Missouri.

Each company had 15 days to comply with the citations, request a conference, or contest the citations and penalties.

Learn from the failures of these companies to protect their employees, and make any needed changes in your own safety training programs to ensure such tragedies don’t happen in your workplace.

Why It Matters

  • Safety on the job is a top priority for employees and employers alike.
  • Safety training is a key component of every safety program.
  • Keep your employees safe—and avoid expensive citations—by continually evaluating your safety program and its training component.

New OSHA code employers should know

Original article http://eba.benefitnews.com

By Martha J. Zackin

A spike in reports of temporary workers suffering fatal injuries on the job has spurred a new initiative to protect them. On April 29, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced an initiative to protect temporary employees from workplace hazards. The initiative, announced through a press release and a memorandum sent to all of OSHA’s regional administrators, directs field inspectors to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the OSH Act.

Inspectors will use a newly created code in their information system to denote when temporary workers are exposed to safety and health violations. Additionally, they will assess whether temporary workers received required training in a language and vocabulary they understand.

In many cases of recent injuries of temporary workers, OSHA reports, 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.

OSHA field inspectors are now directed 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 volatile condition. In addition, inspectors are directed to assess — using both records review and interviews — whether those workers have received required training in a language and vocabulary they understand. A new OIS code has been established to identify temporary workers. In addition, field inspectors are directed to identify the workers’ staffing company, the company’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 staffing client or the staffing agency).

OSHA has also 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.

Both staffing firms and companies that use temporary workers are required to provide safe workplaces, as well as necessary safety and health training regarding workplace hazards. Although allocation of safety-related duties and responsibilities should be clearly spelled out in contracts between staffing firms and client companies, both entities may be held liable by OSHA and the courts. Please consult your employment counsel and OSHA consultants for further information and assistance.


What Happens If You Fail to Keep Required OSHA Records?

Source: http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com

Failure to keep complete and accurate OSHA injury and illness records as required by 29 CFR 1904 can lead to citations and penalties.


What happens if you slip up on recordkeeping? OSHA says that where the OSHA 300 and OSHA 301 forms are concerned, the following actions may be taken:

·         When no records have been kept and there have been injuries or illnesses that should have been recorded under the regulations, a citation for failure to keep records will normally be issued.

·         When no records are kept and there have been no injuries or illnesses, a citation will not be issued.

·         When the required records are kept but no entry is made for a specific injury or illness that meets the requirements for recordability, a citation for failure to record the case will normally be issued.

·         When the required records are kept but have not been completed with the detail required by the regulation, or the records contain minor inaccuracies, the records will be reviewed to determine if there are deficiencies that materially impair the understandability of the nature of hazards, injuries and illnesses in the workplace. If the defects in the records materially impair the understandability of the nature of the hazards, injuries and/or illnesses at the workplace, an other-than-serious citation will normally be issued. If not, no citation will be issued.

How far back can OSHA go to cite for recordkeeping violations? A recent court case has changed the story on that.


Recent Court Decision Limits Recordkeeping Citations

A recent decision by a District of Columbia circuit court means that OSHA can no longer cite employers for recordkeeping violations that occurred more than 6 months prior. The case involved Volks Constructors in Louisiana, which was cited by the agency 5 years after the first of more than 60 violations.

The court overturned an Occupational Safety and Review Commission decision that held that every day an OSHA log was incorrect constituted a "continuing violation."

According to the law firm Constangy, Brooks & Smith, the recent decision is "significant because it dramatically shortens the time that an employer may be cited for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping violations."

In the past, OSHA has made the case that employers need to maintain the 300 and 301 logs for the present year and for 5 prior years. According to the decision, for an injury reported on May 1, OSHA could cite an employer for failing to record it beginning on May 8. "A citation issued within the following 6 months, and only the following 6 months, would be valid," the court determined.


Take Action to Eliminate Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common cause of lost-workday injuries. Nowhere is the problem worse than in the healthcare industry. Here are some preventive measures implemented in that industry that could help reduce the risk of these incidents in your workplace, too.

Research conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in three acute care hospitals led to the identification of the major causes of slips, trips, and falls, along with the development of effective measures for preventing them.

Over a 10-year period following the implementation of these preventive measures, workers' compensation costs arising from slips, trips, and falls in the three hospitals declined by 59 percent. These preventive measures could help reduce your workers' comp costs, too.

What's Tripping Up Workers?

The specific causes of slips, trips, and falls may vary—the slick floors in your workplace might be created by a different substance than those in a hospital—but the prevention principles can be broadly applied to any workplace and any industry.

Major risk factors identified by NIOSH and the CDC include:

1. Contaminants on floors and walkways. Kitchens, bathrooms, building entrances, and other areas where floors and walkways are often wet or contaminated present this type of risk. Effective preventive measures include:

  • Well-documented housekeeping procedures. The CDC suggests creating a written housekeeping program.
  • Two-step mopping. This technique, in which a cleaning solution is applied, then removed, is more effective than traditional damp-mopping and may reduce slipping hazards.
  • Slip-resistant shoes. In persistently slick areas, workers should wear appropriate footwear.
  • Correctly aligning pipes with the drain they empty into, unclogging drains regularly, and redirecting downspouts away from sidewalks.

2. Indoor walking surface irregularities. Damaged, warped, buckled, or uneven flooring surfaces can cause employees to slip, trip, or fall. Control this risk by:

  • Replacing or re-stretching loose or buckled carpeting
  • Removing, patching underneath, and replacing indented or blistered vinyl tile
  • Eliminating trip hazards over a quarter-inch high in all areas of pedestrian travel, using beveling or ramps
  • Replacing smooth flooring materials in areas normally exposed to water, grease, and/or particulate matter with rougher-surfaced flooring
  • Making sure elevators are leveled properly so elevator floors line up evenly with hallway floors

3. Outdoor walking surface irregularities. Outdoor falls can result from poorly maintained, uneven ground; protruding structures; holes; and rocks, leaves, and other debris. Improve safety by:

  • Patching or filling cracks greater than a half-inch wide in walkways
  • Highlighting changes in elevation with Safety Yellow warning paint
  • Eliminating concrete wheel stops in parking lots
  • Covering or highlighting underground watering system structures

4. Weather conditions. Ice, snow, and rain can cause slips and falls. In areas where this is a problem, you can improve safety by:

  • Providing additional mats when needed
  • Removing ice and snow from parking lots, garages, and sidewalks promptly
  • Placing freezing weather warning monitors at entrances to employee parking areas
  • Displaying contact numbers for the maintenance department so employees can report slick conditions
  • Placing bins of ice-melting chemicals in outdoor areas of heavy pedestrian traffic

5. Inadequate lighting. Inadequate lighting makes it harder to see hazards. Make hazards visible by:

  • Installing more light fixtures and/or brighter bulbs in poorly lit areas
  • Installing light fixtures that emit light from all sides

6. Stairs and handrails. Poorly designed or maintained stairs and handrails can lead to falls. Make these safer with:

  • Slip-resistant treads and nosing that cover the entire tread, especially on outside steps
  • Handrails at an appropriate height (34 to 38 inches from the stepping surface)
  • Handrails that extend the full length of the stairs plus 12 inches at top and one tread depth at bottom

7. Tripping hazards. General clutter, loose cords, hoses, and wires pose a tripping hazard along with improperly used floor mats. Eliminate these by:

  • Using wall-mounted storage hooks, shelves, and hose spools
  • Marking walkways and keeping them clear
  • Covering cords on the floor with a beveled protective cover
  • Using mats and runners large enough that users can take several footsteps on them, thereby cleaning contaminants off their shoes before the shoes contact the flooring
  • Using beveled-edge, flat, and continuous or interlocking mats
  • Replacing mats that are curled, ripped, or worn (secure edges with carpet tape if needed)

Are You and Your Workers Ready for the Summer Heat?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 3:00 AM
by Chris Kilbourne

Source: http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com

Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. But your people don't have to suffer. These illnesses and deaths are preventable.

With summer just around the corner and heat and humidity on the rise, many employers need to start thinking about and planning to prevent employee heat-related illness.

Although OSHA doesn't have a specific standard that covers working in hot conditions, under the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, you nevertheless have a duty to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including heat-related hazards.

This means right off the bat you need answers to three very important questions.

What Is Heat Illness?


The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

Who Is Affected?

Workers exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions.

How Can Heat Illness Be Prevented?

Remember these three words:

  • Water
  • Rest
  • Shade

Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat can help prevent heat illness. Include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans.

Additional steps can also help prevent heat-related illness on the job whether employees are working outside or inside in a hot environment:

  • Gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks during the first week or so of hot weather for all heat-exposed workers.
  • Pay special attention to workers who are new on the job or have been away from work for a week or more when the weather is hot. Make sure supervisors acclimate (or reacclimate) them properly to working in the heat.
  • Also make sure employees and supervisors know the symptoms of heat illness and look out for these signs in themselves and others during hot weather.
  • Plan for heat-related emergencies, and make sure everyone knows what to do. Acting quickly in heat illness emergencies can save lives.

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Using the Heat Index

Workers become overheated from two primary sources:

  • Environmental conditions in which they work (whether hot weather outside or hot conditions inside)
  • Internal heat generated by physical labor

To make sure workers keep safe as the heat rises, review this table, which matches temperatures, risk levels, and protective measures for high temperatures:

Heat Index

Risk Level

Protective Measures

Less than 91ºF Lower caution Basic heat safety and planning
91ºF to 103ºF Moderate Implement precautions and heighten awareness
103ºF to 115ºF High Additional precautions to protect workers
Greater than 115ºF Very high to extreme Triggers even more aggressive protective measures

For lower caution risk level, encourage workers to:

  • Drink plenty of water (make sure it is available).
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • Take rest breaks in an air conditioned or cool, shaded area.
  • Acclimate if new or returning to work and performing strenuous work.

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For moderate risk level, encourage workers to take all of the precautions above, plus:

  • Watch for signs of heat stress (be sure to review signs in a safety meeting and instruct supervisors to watch for symptoms).
  • Drink at least 4 cups of water every hour (make sure it is available).
  • Report heat-related symptoms immediately and seek appropriate first aid (explain who to call and review first aid for heat illness in safety meeting).
  • Call 911 if a worker loses consciousness or appears confused or uncoordinated.

For the high risk level, you should take these additional precautions to protect workers:

  • Increase rest periods.
  • Designate a knowledgeable person (well informed on heat-related illness) at the worksite to determine appropriate work/rest schedules.
  • Reduce the workload, and pace strenuous work tasks.
  • Make sure cool, fresh water is available, and remind workers to drink plenty of water every 15 to 20 minutes.

For very high and extreme risk levels:

  • Reschedule all non-essential outdoor work to days when the heat index is lower.
  • Move essential outdoor work to the coolest part of the work shift.
  • As much as possible allow for earlier start times, split shifts, or evening and night shifts.
  • Prioritize and plan essential work tasks carefully. Strenuous work tasks and those requiring the use of heavy or non-breathable clothing or impermeable chemical protective clothing should not be conducted when the heat index is at or above 115°F.
  • Stop work if essential control methods are inadequate or unavailable when the risk of heat illness is very high.