CANCELLED: MSHA Spring Thaw

MSHA Spring Thaw
When
Friday, May 8, 2020 from 6:30 AM to 2:00 PM MST
Where
Embassy Suites Scottsdale
5001 N Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Greetings!
Due to the evolving COVID-19 disease and suggested recommendations, the MSHA Spring Thaw event has been cancelled. 
Take care and stay safe.
Sincerely,
Nicole Massarand
Arizona Rock Products Association
nicole@azrockproducts.org
602-271-0346

DOT Issues CBD Statement

DOT OFFICE OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY AND COMPLIANCE NOTICE

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334, (Farm Bill) removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.  Under the Farm Bill, hemp-derived products containing a concentration of up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are not controlled substances.  THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.  Any product, including “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products, with a concentration of more than 0.3% THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Continue readin

Respirable Mine Dust Partnership Meeting

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) invite mining, public health and medical stakeholders to an inaugural meeting of the Respirable Mine Dust Partnership on February 5, 2020.

The Partnership will address exposures to a broad range of respirable hazards, including respirable crystalline silica (quartz).

Some of the goals for this partnership include:

  • Reviewing existing literature and scientific studies regarding quartz exposure among miners;
  • Providing recommendations addressing shortcomings in the data; and
  • Identifying easily achievable recommendations that will have near-term benefits to reduce miners’ exposure to quartz and other respirable hazards.

This meeting will be held at the MSHA Headquarters : 201 12th St S Arlington, VA 22202-5452 –  7th Floor West Conference Rooms
Or

via WebEx or phone. Find details in the events section on MSHA’s website.

With the OSHA Silica Standard passed in 2018 and the new wave of black lung disease its no surprise MSHA is taking up this issue in 2020. Respirable dust poses a real risk to miners, dirt movers, concrete cutters among other workers. If MSHA were to follow OSHA’s lead, new requirements could include specific safety programs, required training, mandatory sampling and medical evaluations.

The risks are real but the solutions exist. With the proper work methods, training, and protective equipment we can keep our people safe.

We have already started to see the effect of the increased attention on this issue. Mine operators are looking more closely at themselves and their contractors to be sure we are all aware of risk and implementing the appropriate control strategies.

McCraren Compliance offers training on Silica. We can write the appropriate safety programs. When respirators are called for, we can support you with the right programs and training. We even provide respirator fit testing (qualitative).

Get ahead of the regulators and more importantly be sure you are keeping your people safe from this serious illness.  Contact us to find out more.

Miracles of Mining – Please Share

The Southern Arizona Business Coalition (SABC) is producing a series of short videos to help education the general public on the importance of mining to just about everyone, everywhere. There is an old saying that if it isn’t grown, its mined. For those of us in the industry we understand the scope of this statement. But for those outside of the industry these words often lack the same power. SABC is working to change this reality by raising awareness on just how dependent on mining we all are. Just about every areas of our modern lives depend on the vast variety of mineral resources provided by the earth.

McCraren Compliance is a proud member of the mining community. Many of us have a family history going back decades with opportunities provided by the mining industry as the path bringing our families to Arizona. As people with a passion for the well being of others, we have closely watched the evolution of the mining industry and its standards for safety. Mining has surpassed many industries holding some of the highest standards for safety. Many of the leading operators continue to raise those standards well above what the law requires.

Mining creates strong communities and often exists in parts of the country where without the mine there would be no community. Mining offers good paying jobs and provides opportunities for skill development. It provides challenging careers in engineering, always searching for new ways to improve processes while lowering risks to its people, the public and the environment. Mining employs geologist, hydrologist and environmental scientist to ensure we mine responsibly and with minimal impact.

Before an operation can even begin they already have a government approved plan for how they will return the land back to nature once their operations are complete.

Please considering sharing this video to spread the Miracles of Mining.

Department of Labor Increases Fines for Workplace Health and Safety Violations

The Department of Labor has increased civil penalty amounts for violations to adjust for inflation, effective Jan. 15.

The increase is 1.01764% for DOL agencies, including OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, according to a final rule published in the Jan. 15 Federal Register.

For OSHA, the maximum penalty for “willful” or “repeat” violations is $134,937 – up from $132,598. The minimum fine for a willful violation is $9,639. The maximum fines for serious, other-than-serious, failure-to-correct and posting-requirement violations increase to $13,494 from $13,260.

MSHA’s maximum penalty for a “flagrant” violation increases to $270,972 from $266,275.

Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, DOL is required to adjust civil penalty levels for inflation by Jan. 15 each year. DOL determines yearly adjustment rates via the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

On November 2, 2015, the President signed into law the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  This law requires the Department to annually adjust its civil monetary penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year.

While avoiding fines and penalties are important for profitable operations and a good reputation, the true goal is always the overall well being of the workers themselves. The best way to protect your company from being impacted by rising penalties is implementing and maintaining solid health and safety programs. McCraren Compliance offers comprehensive support from manuals and programs to audits and inspections and the training which ensures your company receives the full value offered by these tools.

We can help you ensure safety standards are met out in the field as well. Add one of our safety experts to your project team. We can staff projects of all sizes and duration; filling in for safety during a vacation or illness, supplementing an established team, or providing all safety resources from start to finish. Contact us today to find out more.

National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2018

In case you missed the December 2019 News Release, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 5,250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2018. This represents a 2% increase from the 2017 count of 5,147. Although the total number of fatalities increased the rate per 100,000 Full Time Equivalent Workers remained static at 3.5.

Summary data from the report reflects many of the recurring topics we hear in the news and across social media including unintentional overdoses, workplace violence and suicide in addition to some of the recurring challenges we face year after year like transportation related and fatal falls, slips, and trips.

  • Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event at 2,080, accounting for 40
    percent of all work-related fatalities. (See chart 3 and table 2.)
  • Incidents involving contact with objects and equipment increased 13 percent (from 695 to 786), driven
    by a 39 percent increase in workers caught in running equipment or machinery and a 17 percent increase
    in workers struck by falling objects or equipment.
  • Unintentional overdoses due to non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while at work increased 12 percent
    from 272 to 305. This is the sixth consecutive annual increase.
  • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 3 percent in 2018, due to an 11 percent
    increase in work-related suicides from 275 to 304.
  • Fatal falls, slips, and trips decreased 11 percent to 791, after reaching a series high of 887 in 2017. This
    decline was due to a 14 percent drop in falls to a lower level (713 to 615), the lowest total since 2013.

The Construction Industry reported the highest number of fatalities across all industries at 1,008 and the third highest rate (9.5) following Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (rate 23.4 count 574) and Transportation and Warehousing (rate 14.0 count 874) compared to rate across all industries of 3.5 per 100,000 Full Time Equivalent Workers.

                                       

You can access the full report on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Within the mining industries, which has already reported its fatality data for 2019, the number of fatals dropped to 23 in 2019 from 28 in 2018. The total number of fatalities in 2017 were also 28.  Current information on fatalities and serious injuries can be found at https://www.msha.gov/data-reports/fatality-reports/search

 

 

New Study Makes the Case for Training on Common Mental Health Disroders

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, managers who are trained in common mental disorders, such as stress, anxiety and depression are up to 84% more likely to take managerial preventative actions in order assist an employee in the workplace.

Of the study participants who received training such as stress counseling or lectures on Mental Health topics, 50% reported taking preventative action and 57% reporting having talks with employees as a means of prevention.

Other factors influencing managerial preventative actions were gender, if the employer offered stress counseling, being responsible for the work environment, and more than 10 years of managerial experience.

This study seems to show the importance of reducing stigma associated with metal health common in the workplace. Simple things like awareness training, promotion of Employee Assistance Programs, identifying tasks and activities prone to stress help to normalize mental illness and therefore open up the workplace to preventative actions. These actions would in turn reduce the unwanted effects both in the workplace and beyond.

To see the findings as summarized by the National Safety Council, click Here or Here to access the full study.

McCraren Compliance offers Suicide Prevention in the Workplace Training utilizing curriculum though Working Minds and University of Colorado. Call or contact us to find out more.

Suicide prevention advocates release workplace guidelines, call on employers to act

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Photo: The National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention

Washington — A trio of advocacy groups is calling on employers to take a proactive role in suicide prevention in the workplace, and has published a new set of guidelines.

The National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention were developed by the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and United Suicide Survivors International – with input from experts in human resources, employment law and employee assistance; labor and safety leaders; and workers who have experienced a suicide crisis on the job.

In 2018, the groups conducted an online survey of 256 people from 41 states and found that 46% of the respondents said they knew at least one friend, co-worker or family member who had attempted suicide, while 43% reported having lost at least one friend to suicide. Additionally, a 2018 analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that suicides among the U.S. working age population rose 34% from 2000 to 2016.

According to the groups, the guidelines – part of an 88-page report – are applicable to small and large employers in all industries and throughout the public and private sectors. They:

  • Give employers and professional associations an opportunity to pledge to engage in the suicide prevention effort. To sign the pledge, go to WorkplaceSuicidePrevention.com.
  • Demonstrate an implementation structure for workplace best practices in a comprehensive, public health approach.
  • Provide data and resources to advance the cause of workplace suicide prevention.
  • Bring together diverse stakeholders in a collaborative public-private model.
  • Make recommendations for easily deployed tools, trainings, and resources for short-term action and comprehensive and sustained energy.

“We aim to change the culture of workplaces to reduce elements that cause job strain like sleep disruption, job insecurity and low job control – things shown to be connected to suicide risk,” AAS Executive Director Colleen Creighton said in a press release. “We know these guidelines will not only save lives, but will also alleviate intense emotional suffering by making changes to systems while helping individuals in the workplace.”

No level of cannabis use acceptable for workers in safety-sensitive positions

MarijuanaItasca, IL — The National Safety Council is calling on employers to restrict cannabis use among workers in safety-sensitive positions – regardless of whether cannabis consumption is allowed by their state, in a new policy position released Oct. 21.

Studies have shown that workers under the influence of cannabis can experience impaired body movement, altered senses, difficulty thinking and problem-solving, impaired memory, an altered sense of time, changes in mood, and – when taken in high doses – hallucinations and delusions.

In 2019, NSC surveyed more than 500 employers about the effects of cannabis in the workplace. Results show that:

  • 81% were concerned about the drug having a negative impact on their workforce.
  • 71% indicated their organization’s written policies cover employee use of illicit cannabis, while only 54% said their policies cover employee use of legal or prescribed cannabis.
  • 24% indicated they would dismiss an employee found to be misusing legal cannabis, such as being under the influence while on the job, while only 7% said they would relocate the employee to a position of lesser responsibility.

“Research clearly shows that cannabis impacts a person’s psychomotor skills and cognitive ability,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC, in an Oct. 21 press release. “In order to protect our employees and those around them, we need to acknowledge the impairing effects of cannabis. We urge employers to implement policies stating no amount of cannabis consumption is acceptable for those who work in safety-sensitive positions.”