OSHA Memorandum on when COVID is considered recordable for OSHA

This memorandum provides updated interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the requirements of 29 CFR Part 1904 with respect to the recording of occupational illnesses, specifically cases of COVID-19. On May 26, 2020, the previous memorandum on this topic[1] will be rescinded, and this new memorandum will go into and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis. Please frequently check OSHA’s webpage at www.osha.gov/coronavirus for updates.

Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and thus employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if:

  1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);[2]
  2. The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5;[3] and
  3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7.[4]

Read More» 

Here is a link to a checklist for reporting occupational illness created by a Dinsmore.

Recognize Safe + Sound Week, August 10-16, 2020

Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe.

Why Participate?
Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started, energize an existing one, or provide a chance to recognize your safety successes.

Who Participates?
All organizations looking for an opportunity to recognize their commitment to safety are welcome to participate. Last year, more than 3,300 businesses helped to raise awareness about workers’ health and safety!

Safe + Sound Week August 10-16, 2020 - Management Leadership - Worker Participation - Find and Fix Hazards

Your team needs an empathetic leader during a crisis

Empathic is an important trade for leaders and especially during crisis. Following is an article of posted on SmartBrief.com

In these challenging times, many of my coaching clients are feeling deeply concerned about how to motivate and inspire their people. “How can I motivate someone who is immersed in fear and uncertainty?” they ask. In my coaching sessions, I’m working to help them effectively guide their people when they need a strong leader most.

During times of crisis, showing empathy for your staff and the broader world will help you pull together as a team and feel capable of moving through this challenging time together. Empathy helps you relate to one another on a personal level, showing you care deeply about each other as human beings. Thus, successfully navigating a crisis together can dramatically enhance trust and unity.

1. Practice emotional attunement

Frequently consider how your employees, coworkers and leaders are handling the current situation. How are they feeling? Take note of their body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. Make yourself more available to them by using open body language and eye contact. You’ll soon have a stronger grasp of how others feel at any given time, strengthening your relationships and enhancing your ability to lead your people.  Read More»

COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop some people from going to work sick, survey shows

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Photo: nito100/iStockphoto

London — Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 1 out of 14 workers say they’d go to work even if they feel sick and regardless of how severe their symptoms are, results of a recent survey show.

Commissioned by Thermalcheck, a manufacturer of no-contact temperature check stations, marketing research company One Poll surveyed 2,000 U.S. workers to learn how they’d handle their health when returning to the workplace during and after the pandemic. Nearly half said they feel pressure from their boss to go to work when sick. Feeling guilty was the leading motivator to work while sick.

Other findings:

  • 33% of the respondents said they’d keep working with cold or flu symptoms because they’d miss their colleagues, along with office banter and gossip.
  • More than one-third said they don’t usually consider their co-workers’ health when deciding to go to work when feeling ill.
  • A stomachache wouldn’t stop 52% of the respondents from reporting to work, while 40% said the same about a bad cough. Thirty-three percent said chest tightness wouldn’t keep them home.
  • 40% believe they’ve passed an illness to a co-worker as a consequence of trying to be viewed as a hard worker.

“Despite the pandemic and the advice to avoid others if you feel unwell, there are still a large number of workers who will feel they need to go into the workplace,” a Thermalcheck spokesman said in a statement. “This approach to working while unwell needs to change and employers need to ensure the safety of their workforce.”

Protecting construction, surface mining workers from silica dust: CPWR publishes new resources

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Photo: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — Three new resources from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training are intended to help prevent silica exposure among construction and surface mining workers who operate mobile equipment in enclosed cabs.

The hazard alert card, toolbox talk, and dealer/rental fact sheet are available in English and Spanish.

In the hazard alert, CPWR advises that, before work begins, cabs of mobile equipment be examined for issues with:
The air filtration system: Inspect filters for damage or airflow bypass.
The cab structure: Inspect daily for any holes, gaps or cracks around doors, windows, joints, controls and power-line entries. Silicone caulk or rubber gaskets can be used to repair and seal damaged areas.
Air pressure: Check the pressure gauge daily to ensure it’s working properly, and monitor the pressure throughout the workday to ensure positive air pressure is maintained and dusty air is kept out.

Enclosed cabs should have a communication system that allows operators to speak with other workers without having to open a door or window. Cabs should be cleaned and properly maintained to ensure proper working order of closing mechanisms, gaskets and all seals.

The toolbox talk tells the story of Grace and the result of her exposure to silica dust at work, and the fact sheet is designed to help businesses that rent or sell equipment understand the requirements of OSHA and Mine Safety and Health Administration standards on silica dust.

McCraren Compliance can help. We offer Silica training and Protection Plans required by OSHA.

Annual truck and bus brake inspection blitz to take place Aug. 23-29

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Photo: Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

Greenbelt, MD — Commercial motor vehicle inspectors throughout North America will conduct both announced and unannounced brake system inspections Aug. 23-29 during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Brake Safety Week.

Inspectors are expected to place special emphasis on brake hoses and tubing during this year’s outreach and enforcement campaign.

Last year’s event resulted in 34,320 inspections and identified 4,626 vehicles (13.5%) with out-of-service conditions.

In a July 8 press release, CVSA President John Samis said vehicle and driver safety remain the “top priority” of the alliance, and conducting inspections is an especially vital task amid the COVID-19 pandemic as drivers transport essential goods.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure that the vehicles truck drivers are driving are as safe as possible,” Samis said. “Brakes are one of the most important systems in a vehicle. Failure of any component of a brake system could be catastrophic. Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles.”

The event, scheduled during Brake Safety Awareness Month, is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake campaign conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

Fall Protection June 2020 – Safety Alert

Recent Increase in Fall of Person Accidents

28 miners have died after falling from heights over the last 10 years.

Deaths from falls have increased from 8% to 19% of mining fatalities in the last two years.

  • Working without fall protection on top of trucks, in aerial lift baskets, and while accessing and egressing other mobile equipment
  • While performing maintenance on crushers, screens, conveyors, and other milling equipment

MSHA issued 92 imminent danger orders for people working at heights without fall protection between January 2019 and June 2020. The most common violations were truck drivers climbing atop their vehicles, and maintenance and quarry personnel climbing to or working without fall protection in high places. Supervisors have been ordered down from dangerous locations.

Fall protection Safety Alert information for June of 2020
Best Practices:
  • Reduce hazards. Design work areas and develop job tasks to minimize fall hazards.
  • Have a program. Establish an effective fall prevention and protection program. Provide task and site-specific hazard training that prohibits working at unprotected locations.
  • Provide a fall protection harness and lanyard to each miner who may work at an elevated height or a location unprotected by handrails. Ensure their use.
  • Provide identifiable, secure anchor points to attach lanyards.
  • Proactively enforce fall protection equipment usage and safe work-at-height policies and procedures with supervisors, miners, contractors, and truck drivers.
  • Provide mobile or stationary platforms or scaffolding at locations and on work projects where there is a risk of falling.
  • Provide safe truck tarping and bulk truck hatch access facilities.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #11

MINE FATALITY – On July 9, 2020, a mine superintendent was electrocuted while attempting to reverse the polarity of a 4,160 VAC circuit by switching the leads inside an energized 4,160 VAC enclosure that contained a vacuum circuit breaker and disconnect.

Scene of the acciodent where the victim was electricuted
Best Practices:
  • Follow these steps before performing electrical work inside a high voltage enclosure:
    1. Locate the high voltage visual disconnect away from the enclosure that supplies incoming electrical power to the enclosure.
    2. Open the visual disconnect to provide visual evidence that the incoming power cable(s) or conductors have been de-energized.
    3. Lock-out and tag-out the visual disconnect yourself. Never rely on others to do this for you.
    4. Ground the de-energized conductors.
  • Verify circuits are de-energized using properly rated electrical meters and non-contact voltage testers.
  • Ensure properly qualified miners perform all work on high voltage equipment.
  • Wear properly rated and well maintained personal protective equipment, including arc flash protection such as a hood, gloves, shirt and pants.
  • Train miners on safe work practices for high voltage electrical equipment and circuits.
Additional Information:

This is the 11th fatality reported in 2020, and the first classified as “electrical.”

MSHA -Mine Fatality #10

MINE FATALITY – On June 19, 2020, a miner died while inspecting a stockpile for oversized material. As the victim walked along the toe of the stockpile, a portion of the stockpile collapsed, covering him with approximately four feet of material.

scene of the accident where the fatality occured
Best Practices:
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and the methods to properly protect persons.
  • Task train everyone to recognize potential hazardous conditions that can decrease bank or slope stability and ensure they understand safe job procedures for eliminating hazards.
  • Stay clear of potentially unstable areas. Barricade the toe area to prevent access where hazards have not been corrected.
  • Oversteepened slopes may be flattened from the top of the stockpile by using a bulldozer to gradually cut down the slope.
Additional Information:

This is the 10th fatality reported in 2020, and the first classified as “Falling, Rolling, or Sliding Rock or Material of Any Kind.”

OSHA revises beryllium standard for general industry

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Photo: JacobH/iStockphoto

Washington — OSHA has finalized revisions to its beryllium standard for general industry. Announced July 13, the final rule includes changes to five definitions and the addition of one new definition – beryllium sensitization.

Beryllium is a lightweight metal that can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and chronic beryllium disease – also known as berylliosis.

The revised definitions address:

  • Beryllium work areas
  • Chronic beryllium disease
  • A chronic beryllium disease diagnostic center
  • Confirmed positive
  • Dermal contact with beryllium

Additional revisions include methods of compliance, personal protective clothing and equipment, hygiene areas and practices, housekeeping, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping. A new Appendix A is “designed to supplement the final standard’s definition of beryllium work area,” the notice states.

The compliance date for these changes is Sept. 14.

OSHA announced proposed alterations to its beryllium standards for the construction and shipyard industries on Sept. 30.