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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

COVID-19 has changed the way we all work. Some of us never stopped physically going to work, while others have been working remotely since mid-March. No matter where we are, working during a pandemic has added stress to our daily lives. How you deal with this stress can positively or negatively affect your well-being.

Some of the symptoms of COVID-19-related stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include concern about being exposed to the disease at work, taking care of your loved ones while you’re working, managing a change in workload, and uncertainty about the future of your workplace or employment.

Manage job stress by following these tips from CDC:

  • Communicate with your co-workers about job stress while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Identify factors that cause you stress, and work together with your colleagues to develop solutions.
  • Increase your sense of control by creating a consistent daily routine when you can. If you work from home, set a regular time to stop working each day.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults.
  • Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check in with your co-workers, family and friends.
  • Get active: Spend time outdoors, either exercising or relaxing.
  • Ask your supervisor or human resources department about the mental health resources your organization offers.
  • During non-work hours, spend time doing activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you’re feeling or how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you.
  • Take breaks from watching or reading news stories. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting.

For more information, go to sh-m.ag/3k6mGeR.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Parking lot safety

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Parking lots can be a safety risk for workers, especially with the sun setting earlier during the winter months.

When you’re returning to your vehicle, always try to walk with a co-worker or security officer, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety recommends. Then, give your escort a ride back to the building. Other tips:

  • Park in a highly visible and well-lit area near your building.
  • If you park in a garage, look for a spot near the parking attendant, if there is one, or near the stairs or a well-lit exit.
  • Use the main building entrance – avoid rear or secluded exits.
  • Have your keys out and ready as you approach your vehicle.
  • Don’t approach anyone loitering near your vehicle. Walk to a safe place or go back inside your workplace, and then call the police.
  • Lock the doors and keep the windows rolled up once you’re in the vehicle.

If you have to walk alone, follow these five tips:

  • Have a co-worker watch you from a window.
  • Wave to them on the way to your vehicle.
  • Wave even if no one is watching to give the illusion that someone is watching you return to your vehicle.
  • Always be alert to your surroundings. Keep your head up and look around.
  • Don’t wear headphones or talk on the phone. These devices can create distractions.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Annual DOL OIG report outlines challenges for OSHA, MSHA

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Photo: Department of Labor Office of Inspector General
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated” the challenges for OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration to use their resources to protect the safety and health of workers, according to the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

In 2020 DOL Top Management and Performance Challenges, an annual report released Nov. 16, DOL OIG notes that the number of whistleblower complaints has increased during the pandemic while full-time staffing in the OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program has decreased.

MSHA, meanwhile, suspended five of its enforcement activities, including its “accident reduction program,” as of May. The agency also reduced its work in 13 areas, including mine emergency operations, but continued 15 activities at full capacity, including regular safety and health inspections and fatal incident investigations.

“MSHA needs to do more to address the potential backlog of suspended and reduced enforcement activities resulting from the pandemic and develop a plan to manage the backlog once full operations resume,” the report states. “Further, MSHA needs to monitor COVID-19 outbreaks at mines and use that information to determine whether to issue an emergency temporary standard related to the pandemic.”

The report also highlights OSHA’s difficulties in verifying that employers have abated hazards at general industry and construction worksites.

“OSHA needs to complete its initiatives to improve employer reporting of severe injuries and illnesses and enhance staff training on abatement verification, especially of smaller and transient construction employers,” DOL OIG states.

Other challenges noted in the report:

  • A 25-year high in black lung cases and the need to develop strategies to address it. MSHA is studying its August 2014 coal dust rule, but this analysis likely will take a decade or more to be completed, DOL OIG states.
  • Powered-haulage incidents, which accounted for nearly half of mining fatalities in 2017 and 2018. MSHA launched an initiative on the topic in 2018 that includes a website, videos, safety materials and mine-site visits.
  • Both agencies are challenged on how to regulate respirable crystalline silica. As noted in another report released the same day, OSHA and MSHA have different permissible exposure limits.

OSHA revised its National Emphasis Program on respirable silica in February and issued a revised directive for inspection procedures. DOL OIG notes that the agency conducted a webinar for inspectors on how to inspect for silica violations and enforce “various provisions of the new standards.”

“OIG is currently performing an audit to determine the extent OSHA has protected workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica,” the report states.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

DOL OIG recommends MSHA lower exposure limit for silica

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Department of Labor Office of Inspector General is advising the Mine Safety and Health Administration to lower its legal exposure limit for silica, among other recommendations, in a report released Nov. 16.

MSHA’s silica exposure limit of 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air was established more than 50 years ago and is out of date, the report states. OSHA has since lowered its silica exposure limit to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, but “both OSHA and NIOSH warned that 50 μg/m³ is the lowest feasible limit, not the safest.”

A recent increase in progressive massive fibrosis – the most severe form of black lung disease – has been linked to “high-volume mechanized mining of decreasing deposits of coal, which releases more silica dust,” the report notes. More than three times as many coal miners were identified as having black lung disease from 2010 to 2014, compared with 1995 to 1999.

“The evidence indicates respirable crystalline silica may be responsible for this increase,” DOL OIG says.

DOL OIG also recommends that MSHA establish a separate standard to allow the agency to issue citations and monetary penalties for silica exposure limit violations. Further, it advises MSHA to increase the frequency of inspector samples “where needed” to enhance its sampling program. One example is by implementing a risk-based approach.

In a response dated Oct. 27, MSHA administrator David Zatezalo wrote that his agency does not agree with the recommendations of lowering the silica exposure limit or penalizing operators solely for exposure violations. He added that MSHA plans to issue a proposed rule on exposure to respirable quartz – one of the most common types of respirable crystalline silica.

Zatezalo said the agency will study DOL OIG’s final recommendation, including the risk-based approach, to see if sampling needs to increase under certain mining conditions.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation

Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking

First published by U.S. Department of Transportation.

You are invited to participate in the “Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation” virtual event hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on
December 8, 2020 from 2:00pm-4:00pm.

Nearly 25 million people across the globe are victims of modern slavery, and human traffickers utilize America’s roadways, railways, airways, and waterways to facilitate the trafficking of their victims. Transportation leaders have an opportunity to amplify counter-trafficking efforts to combat this heinous crime.

This virtual event will feature remarks by Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and highlight counter-trafficking initiatives across the transportation sector through leadership, funding, partnerships, policies and protocols, training and awareness, data and information-sharing, and victim and survivor support. Three panels comprised of multimodal Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking stakeholders will spotlight efforts by State and local entities, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.

In addition to participating on December 8th, public and private stakeholders across all modes of transportation are invited to join DOT’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative by signing the pledge to combat human trafficking in the transportation sector. The pledge and other information are available at
https://www.transportation.gov/stophumantrafficking.

 

REGISTER NOW


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Technology could ‘greatly reduce’ rear-end crashes involving large trucks: IIHS study

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Arlington, VA — Installing crash prevention technologies on the front of large commercial trucks may reduce, by more than 40%, crashes in which those trucks rear-end another vehicle, according to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

IIHS Director of Statistical Services Eric Teoh analyzed data from about 2,000 crashes involving large trucks that occurred from 2017 to 2019. He found that forward-collision warning systems reduced rear-end crashes by 44%, while automatic emergency braking systems reduced the crashes by 41%. Additionally, these technologies were found to reduce overall crashes by 22% and 12%, respectively.

Front crash prevention systems employ cameras, radar or other sensors to monitor roadways, while AEB systems automatically engage brakes to prevent or mitigate collisions.

According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,415 fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in 2018 – a 52.6% increase from the 2,893 recorded in 2009.

“This study provides evidence that forward-collision warning and AEB greatly reduce crash risk for tractor-trailers and other large trucks,” Teoh said in a Sept. 3 press release. “That’s important information for trucking companies and drivers who are weighing the costs and benefits of these options on their next vehicles.”


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $2,856,533 In Coronavirus Violations

First published by OSHA.

WASHINGTON, DC – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Nov. 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued 204 citations arising from inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $2,856,533.

OSHA inspections have resulted in the agency citing employers for violations, including failures to:

OSHA has withdrawn a citation issued on Oct. 23, 2020, to Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, New York, (Inspection #1473958 with proposed penalty of $9,639) after the employer provided evidence of a good faith attempt at complying with the standard in question.

OSHA has already announced citations relating to the coronavirus arising out of 178 inspections, which can be found at dol.gov/newsroom. In addition to those inspections, the 26 inspections below have resulted in coronavirus-related citations totaling $369,404 from OSHA relating to one or more of the above violations from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, 2020. OSHA provides more information about individual citations at its Establishment Search website, which it updates periodically.

Establishment Name Inspection
Number
City State Initial
Penalty
The Cleaning Company Inc. 1483403 East Haven Connecticut $6,940
Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Inc. 1476231 New London Connecticut $15,422
Butterfield Health Care VIII LLC 1474191 Bolingbrook Illinois $12,145
Geneva Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC 1474458 Geneva Illinois $13,494
The Edgar P. Benjamin Healthcare Center Inc. 1488985 Boston Massachusetts $16,193
South Shore Medical Investors LLC 1478069 Scituate Massachusetts $13,494
Grand Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center 1474377 Saint Louis Missouri $12,145
Hamilton Operator LLC 1488528 Hamilton Square New Jersey $13,494
Hazlet Garden Group 1486252 Hazlet New Jersey $13,359
Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation & Nursing Center 1486441 Little Egg Harbor Twp. New Jersey $32,965
Elmwood Evesham Associates LLC 1487353 Marlton New Jersey $12,145
Montclair Hospital LLC 1473011 Montclair New Jersey $13,494
Prime Healthcare Services-St. Michael’s LLC 1479171 Newark New Jersey $25,061
Optimize Manpower Solutions Inc. 1470599 South Plainfield New Jersey $5,000
Family of Caring LLC 1473777 Woodcliff Lake New Jersey $12,145
Boro Park Operating Co. LLC 1488796 Brooklyn New York $26,989
Boro Park Operating Co. LLC 1488814 Brooklyn New York $11,567
Buffalo General Medical Center 1474063 Buffalo New York $1,928
Rego Park NHLTD 1488595 Flushing New York $13,494
Forest Manor Inc. 1487472 Glen Cove New York $13,494
Amsterdam Nursing Home Corp. 1475704 New York New York $13,494
Bayada Home Health Care Inc. 1480129 New York New York $8,675
Schnur Operations Associates LLC 1488554 White Plains New York $12,145
Cold Spring Hill Acquisition LLC 1487532 Woodbury New York $25,061
Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital 1474193 Warren Ohio $13,494
Athena Health Care Systems 1487891 Woonsocket Rhode Island 11567

A full list of what standards were cited for each establishment – and the inspection number – are available here. An OSHA standards database can be found here.

Resources are available on the agency’s COVID-19 webpage to help employers comply with these standards.

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 help 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.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Annual brake inspection blitz examines more vehicles than in 2019

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Photo: Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Greenbelt, MD — Commercial motor vehicle inspectors across North America conducted 43,565 brake system inspections and identified 5,156 vehicles – or 11.8% – with out-of-service conditions during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Brake Safety Week, the organization announced Oct. 27.

Conducted Aug. 23-29 – during Brake Safety Awareness Month – this year’s outreach and enforcement campaign saw more vehicles inspected and fewer placed out of service than in 2019, when those totals were 34,320 and 4,626 (13.5%), respectively.

According to CVSA, 53 jurisdictions – including 45 in the United States – participated in this year’s event, which involved both announced and unannounced brake system inspections. Inspectors put special emphasis on brake hoses and tubing; a separate data query from participating jurisdictions found 6,697 hose chafing violations.

“Although many commercial motor vehicle enforcement agencies were forced to reduce services in the spring due to the (COVID-19) pandemic, it was important that we resumed inspection and enforcement duties as soon as it was safe to do so,” CVSA President John Samis said in a press release. “With truck drivers designated ‘essential personnel’ by the government, we needed to ensure that the vehicles traversing our roadways were safe to support commercial drivers as they selflessly continued to work during such a difficult and challenging time.”

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake campaign, which is conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

Next year’s event is set for Aug. 22-28.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Former OSHA head expects an emergency temporary standard ‘very early’ in Biden administration

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Aurora, CO — Protecting the health and safety of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic will be a high priority for President-elect Joe Biden as he prepares to take office in January, according to former OSHA chief David Michaels.

That starts with OSHA issuing an emergency temporary standard on infectious diseases – something worker advocacy groups and some lawmakers have called for in recent months.

“I don’t think there’s any question that Biden will issue an emergency temporary standard very early in his tenure,” Michaels said during a Nov. 11 webinar on the post-election future of worker safety and health, hosted by the University of Colorado Center for Bioethics and Humanities. “I think you have to do that immediately. The importance of that is employers need to know what the rules are.”

During his presidential campaign, Biden released a 4-Point Plan for Our Essential Workers that called on the Trump administration to immediately release and enforce an ETS to give employers and frontline employees “specific, enforceable guidance” on reducing on-the-job exposure to COVID-19.

Michaels – who led OSHA for seven years under the Obama administration – said he expects an ETS from the Biden administration to include language on physical distancing, mask requirements and workplace ventilation.

“And if [employers] don’t do those things, they have to explain why,” he said. “It will have a huge impact, because standards are a wholesale way to deal with issues that inspections just do on a regional basis. Standards are powerful because many employers want to be law-abiding. They will follow a standard.”

Despite being pushed to issue an ETS on infectious diseases by lawmakers from both parties as well as via multiple petitions and lawsuits from labor unions, federal OSHA officials have consistently reiterated the agency’s position to use existing rules – including its General Duty Clause – to protect workers during the pandemic.

The agency also has relied on dozens of industry-specific guidance documents, which serve only as recommendations to employers. MichiganOregon and Virginia recently have issued ETSs in absence of one from federal OSHA.

Webinar co-presenter Matthew Wynia, a professor and bioethicist at CU, said OSHA guidance leaves open the opportunity for some employers to not follow it.

“The reason for standards is to establish a level playing field,” Wynia said. “You’ve laid a floor and said, ‘You cannot go below this.’”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Study links on-the-job pollution exposure to heart abnormalities among Latinos

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Exposure to pollutants such as vehicle exhaust, pesticides and wood smoke may be linked to structural and functional heart abnormalities that could lead to cardiovascular disease among Latino workers, results of a recent study published by the American Heart Association indicate.

Researchers studied 782 adult workers with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American or South American backgrounds, gauging their exposure to pollutants at their current and longest-held job via questionnaires. Ultrasounds were taken of the participants’ hearts. Among the findings:

  • Workers exposed to vehicle exhaust, pesticides, burning wood and metals who have been at their jobs for an average of 18 years or more were more likely to “have features of abnormal heart function and structure.”
  • Exposure to burning wood or wood smoke was linked to a “decreased ability” (3.1% lower) of the heart’s left ventricle to pump blood.
  • Exposure to vehicle exhaust was linked to indicators of reduced pumping ability for the heart.
  • Workplace exposure to pesticides was associated with an abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.
  • Exposure to metals was linked to a risk factor for cardiovascular disease: increased muscle mass and abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.

“These findings support the notion that where people live and work affects cardiovascular health,” researcher Jean Claude Uwamungu, cardiology fellow in training at Montefiore Health System/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said in a press release from AHA. “Policies and interventions to protect the environment and safeguard workers’ health could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart failure, especially among low-income occupations that have higher exposure to these harmful pollutants. Health care professionals should routinely ask patients about exposure to pollutants at work to guide prevention, diagnosis and treatment of early stages of heart disease.”

The study was published online Aug. 26 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.