MSHA publishes posters on wintertime hazards

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
msha-winter-safety-v3-3.jpg

Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Arlington, VA — The Mine Safety and Health Administration has published a series of posters intended to help mine operators mitigate hazards that occur during winter months.

Topics include limited visibility, slippery walkways, and freezing and thawing highwalls.

“Winter presents different challenges to miners, especially in those places with snow and ice,” MSHA says. “In addition to other safety measures, miners must take extra precautions in the winter months.”

Agency guidance for surface mines includes:

  • Remove snow and ice from roads and walkways.
  • Drive slowly and maintain distance between vehicles.
  • Check highwalls, benches and roadways, especially after each rain, freeze or thaw.
  • Examine equipment for exhaust leaks.
  • Maintain equipment to operate safely in cold weather.
  • Apply sand or salt to walkways to improve traction.
  • Always wear a seat belt when in vehicles.
  • Check for slip and trip hazards.
  • Wear footwear that grips.

For coal mines:

  • Properly ventilate the mine.
  • Apply liberal amounts of rock dust.
  • Conduct frequent examinations.

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.

Bloodborne pathogens: Oregon OSHA launches Spanish-language training course

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Photo: Oregon OSHA

Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has launched a Spanish-language online training course on bloodborne pathogens for health care, emergency response, hospitality and other industries.

Bloodborne pathogens – infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV – can be transmitted to workers via needlestick, broken glass or other sharps.

Aimed at helping employers meet the requirements of Oregon OSHA’s standard on bloodborne pathogens, the free course includes videos, interactive scenarios and a quiz. Topics covered include assessing the potential for exposure, the elements and management of an exposure-control plan, and preventing and reducing exposures.

“It takes solid planning, training and other critical steps to address the potential on-the-job hazards of bloodborne pathogens,” Julie Love, interim administrator of Oregon OSHA, said in a press release. “But language barriers can pose challenges to taking those steps. That is why we’re offering this new tool to help break down those barriers.”

Oregon OSHA, which operates under federal OSHA’s State Plan program, has also published a bloodborne pathogens guide that includes answers to key questions about workplace exposure.


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.

U.S. Department of Labor announces annual adjustments to OSHA civil penalties

First published by OSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced adjustments to Occupational Safety and Health Administration civil penalty amounts based on cost-of-living adjustments for 2022.

In 2015, Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act to advance the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and to maintain their deterrent effect. Under the Act, agencies are required to publish “catch-up” rules that adjust the level of civil monetary penalties, and make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation no later than January 15 of each year.

OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $13,653 per violation to $14,502 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $136,532 per violation to $145,027 per violation.

Visit the OSHA Penalties page for more information. The Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2022 final rule is effective January 15, 2022, and the increased penalty levels apply to any penalties assessed after January 15, 2022.

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 workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.


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.

Exhausted nation: Americans more tired than ever, survey finds

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

New York — Do you feel like you’re constantly running on fumes? If so, it’s not just you. Around 3 out of 5 U.S. adults say they feel more tired now than they’ve ever been and blame it on additional time spent at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a recent survey show.

Researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults to learn about the impacts the pandemic is having on their energy levels, as well as any accompanying side effects. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they feel unfocused or disjointed, and that taking a brief nap isn’t a “viable solution.” More than half of the respondents (55%) said no amount of rest helps them feel focused, while slightly more (56%) believe poor sleep schedules have led to low energy levels.

Other findings:

  • 69% of the respondents said working from home has disrupted their sleep schedule.
  • Long work hours (53%), staying indoors during lockdowns (52%), too much screen time (46%) and lack of a regular routine (41%) were cited as the leading causes for prolonged feelings of exhaustion.
  • Among the participants working from home, 34% said many of the activities that typically boost their energy levels aren’t possible during the pandemic.
  • 3 out of 5 respondents said video conferences are more draining than in-person meetings.

The American Sleep Association offers tips for getting a better night’s sleep.


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.

Online tool designed to identify ‘the right places’ to use workplace exoskeletons

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Exo-LiFFT.jpg

Photo: Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN — A free online tool developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University is intended to help employers assess how and where exoskeletons could help reduce work-related back injuries “without the need for costly and time-consuming experiments.”

Exoskeletons are used in a variety of industries to relieve physical strain and overexertion, which accounts for 38.5% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, a university press release states, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Exo-LiFFT is an interactive calculator designed to help employers who are “looking for ways to overcome workforces struggling with musculoskeletal injuries, missed work and accelerated retirement amongst skilled laborers.”

The tool was developed in collaboration with industrial engineers from Auburn University and an ergonomist from a supplier of workforce wearables. The researchers, from Vanderbilt’s Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology, project that exoskeleton use in material handling has the potential to reduce back injuries up to 60%.

The free tool is available in three versions: an online calculator for either single or multitask assessment or as a downloadable Excel worksheet.

“If we can identify the right places to deploy exoskeletons, then they can reduce injury risks as well as bodily discomfort, which impacts workers on the job and at home,” Karl Zelik, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt, said in the release. “Exoskeletons may also help improve worker recruitment and retention, which have been costly pain points for employers amidst the labor shortage.”

Further details of the tool were explored in a study published online Nov. 2 in the journal Applied Ergonomics.


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.

Reopened: MSHA comment period on proposing written programs for powered haulage safety

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Arlington, VA — Responding to public request, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has reopened, until Feb. 11, the comment period on a proposed rule that would require mine operators employing at least six miners to establish a written safety program for mobile and powered haulage equipment.

First published in the Sept. 9 Federal Register, the proposal is intended to improve safety at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines. According to the agency, a successful written safety program would include actions mine operators could take to identify hazards and risks with the objective of mitigating incidents, injuries and fatalities related to surface mobile equipment. The proposed rule excludes belt conveyors.

Overall, 17 of the 37 miner fatalities reported by MSHA in 2021 involved powered haulage incidents. The preliminary total comes after six straight years in which fewer than 30 miners died on the job.

During a Dec. 14 conference call for industry stakeholders, MSHA noted that five of the 10 occupational fatalities among miners from Oct. 1 to Dec. 13 involved powered haulage.

“I think the fatalities that we went through and the sheer number of them should be a sobering reality for all of us, and the work that needs to get done both at the mine site and at the management table,” acting MSHA administrator Jeannette Galanis said during the call. “So, we look forward to seeing leadership on this from our mine operators, especially around powered haulage.”

On Nov. 1, MSHA launched an enforcement initiative focused on powered haulage that comprises both targeted inspection and special emphasis components. Speaking during the stakeholder conference call, Nancy Rooney, administrator of enforcement for MSHA, said common violations to date have included failure to guard moving machine parts; defects in equipment, machinery or tools; and failure to maintain audible warning devices.

The initial comment period on the proposed rule ended Nov. 8.


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.

Supreme Court mulling decision on OSHA’s ETS on COVID-19

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — Who gets to decide how to protect workers against COVID-19? That was one of the central questions posed by opponents of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking during a Jan. 7 hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Scott Keller, attorney for the National Federation of Independent Business, presented the question in a response to questioning from Justice Stephen Breyer early in the two-hour hearing. “You said the question is, ‘Who decides?’” Justice Elena Kagan said to Keller later in the hearing. “I think that’s right. I think that is the question.”

Kagan contended in her questioning that OSHA has experts on workplace safety and is politically accountable to the public via the election of presidents and representatives in Congress.

“Courts are not politically accountable,” she said. “Courts have not been elected. Courts have no epidemiological expertise. Why in the world would courts decide this question?”

Keller and Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers contended that Congress didn’t give OSHA clear authority to address vaccinations in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The duo also argued that states and private businesses can decide how to protect workers from COVID-19.

Chief Justice John Roberts expressed similar thoughts to U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, who was arguing on behalf of the government.

“It sounds like the sort of thing that states will be responding to, or should be, and Congress should be responding to, rather than agency by agency of the federal government and the executive branch acting alone.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor mentioned that “certain states … are stopping employers from requiring vaccines” and masks.

“Why shouldn’t the federal government, which … Congress has decided to give OSHA the power to regulate workplace safety, have a national rule that will protect workers?” she asked.

Reading from the OSH Act, Sotomayor noted that Congress gave OSHA the authority to develop “innovative methods, techniques and approaches for dealing with occupational health and safety problems.”

Prelogar pointed to Section 20(a)(5), which reads: “Nothing in this or any other provision of this act shall be deemed to authorize or require medical examination, immunization, or treatment for those who object thereto on religious grounds, except where such is necessary for the protection of the health or safety of others.”

OSHA – Electronic reporting deadline approaching

First published by OSHA

US Department of Labor reminds specific employers to submit
required 2021 injury, illness data by March 2, 2022

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds employers that the agency began collecting calendar year 2021 Form 300A data on Jan. 2, 2022. Employers must submit the form electronically by March 2, 2022.

Electronic submissions are required by establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.

Visit the Injury Tracking Application Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records to OSHA for more information and a link to the Injury Tracking Application.

Photo: OSHA

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.

Respiratory protection

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

NIOSH publishes toolbox talk

NIOSH respiratory protection

Photo: NIOSH

Washington — Knowing how to select, use and maintain NIOSH-approved respirators can help promote proper respiratory protection practices and protect construction workers from unsafe airborne contaminants, according to a new toolbox talk published by the agency.

NIOSH encourages employers to examine all avenues to reduce worker exposure to potentially dangerous dusts and fumes.

Among the first steps should be to try to eliminate or replace the hazard, implement engineering controls (e.g., local exhaust ventilation), or implement administrative controls (e.g., rotating workers between hazardous tasks). When these controls aren’t feasible or are insufficient in reducing harmful exposures, respiratory protection must be properly selected and users must be fit tested. Workers also must be trained and follow both employer and manufacturer instructions for proper use, inspection, maintenance and storage of respiratory protection devices. This includes proper donning and doffing of devices.

The agency reminds employers that they’re responsible for providing NIOSH-approved respirators as necessary to protect worker health, as required by OSHA in its standards on respiratory protection.

Among the types of devices that can be used to protect workers are filtering facepiece respirators; elastomeric half-mask respirators; and half-mask, full-facepiece and hood/helmet powered air-purifying respirators. For any employer providing respirators, the process must include direction from an OSHA-required written respiratory protection program.

NIOSH’s respiratory protection webpage features answers to nearly 20 frequently asked questions.

In addition, NIOSH sets recommended exposure limits for airborne contaminants and OSHA mandates legal enforceable permissible exposure limits, with which employers are required to comply.


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.

SAMHSA working to turn National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to three-digit number

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Photo: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Rockville, MD — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is helping to transition the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a three-digit number – 988.

According to a press release, Congress designated the updated dialing code in 2020 and the Department of Health and Human Services, through SAMHSA, is investing $282 million for the transition. That funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget.

The 988 number is scheduled to be available for calling, texting or chatting nationwide beginning in July.

“Converting to this easy-to-remember, three-digit number will strengthen and expand the existing Lifeline network, providing the public with easier access to lifesaving services,” the release states. “The Lifeline currently helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day.”

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SAMHSA notes that suicide was the 10th-leading cause of death nationally in 2019. It was also the second-leading cause of death among young people that year.

CDC analysis published in 2020 and using 2016 data found that men in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction had a suicide rate of 54.2 per 100,000 workers. The overall average rate for men was 27.4. In addition, men and women in construction and extraction had suicide rates of 49.4 and 25.5, respectively.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 year-round at (800) 273-8255 (TALK).


McCraren Compliance offers training and programs to support companies in suicide awareness and prevention. Contact us for additional information to help you with this very important workplace safety.