Fatal incident in Texas train yard involving a portable derail spurs FRA safety advisory

Original article published by Safety+Health

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The National Transportation Safety Board released this photo of the derailment that killed a Union Pacific conductor in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 29, 2022. Photo: National Transportation Safety Board and Union Pacific

 

Washington — In response to a recent fatal derailment at a Texas train yard, the Federal Railroad Administration has issued a safety advisory on the use of portable derails.

According to notice published in the Oct. 28 Federal Register, a 61-car Union Pacific Railroad train was traveling 9 mph when it struck a derailing device at 9:14 p.m. on Aug. 29 in El Paso, TX. The crew didn’t see the portable derail, which was placed on the track earlier in day to protect maintenance workers installing a switch in the yard. The conductor, who was riding in the lead car, was fatally injured when the car rolled over.

FRA emphasizes the importance of ensuring portable derails are visible in low-light conditions and that processes are in place to ensure the removal of these devices when they’re no longer necessary for on-track safety.

Some railroads, the agency notes, require workers to place a tag on the steering wheel of hi-rail vehicles when placing shunts on the track, adding that a similar process for placing portable derails would guard against workers unintentionally leaving portable derails on a track.

The agency recommends that railroad operators and contractors:

  • Review details of the El Paso incident with workers.
  • Ensure their safety manuals properly address the use of portable derails.
  • Equip any portable derails with a light or reflectors.
  • Include procedures that call for portable derails to be removed when no longer necessary.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT 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.

Nonfatal workplace injuries increased in 2021, but illnesses dropped significantly

First published by Safety+Health

Washington — The number of reported workplace injuries in the U.S. private sector increased in 2021, but a decline in respiratory illnesses – including COVID-19 – helped drive down the combined number of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, data released Nov. 7 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

Workers in the private industry experienced an estimated 2.2 million nonfatal injuries in 2021 – up from 2.1 million the previous year. The rate of nonfatal injuries increased to 2.3 per 100 full-time equivalent workers from 2.2 in 2020.

However, employers reported 365,200 nonfatal illnesses in 2021 – down from 544,600 in 2020. Likewise, the number of recorded respiratory illnesses declined to 269,600 from 428,700 in 2020. By comparison, that total was 10,800 in 2019 – before the COVID-19 pandemic. BLS states that the 2021 data includes cases of COVID-19 “when a worker was infected as a result of performing their work-related duties and met other recordkeeping criteria.”

Overall, private industry employers reported 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2021 – a 1.8% decrease from the year before. The rate of total recordable cases remained unchanged, at 2.7 per 100 FTEs.

BLS obtained the estimates from the agency’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.

Other 2021 data highlights:

  • The transportation and warehousing industry and the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry had the highest rate of nonfatal injuries, each at 4.3 per 100 full-time workers.
  • Health care and social assistance had the highest rate of workplace illnesses, at 115.9 per 10,000 full-time workers. By comparison, the industries with the next highest rates were retail trade (46.2) and manufacturing (42.8).

The data release is the first of two annual reports from BLS. The second, scheduled to be released Dec. 16, will highlight Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries findings.


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.

Steer clear of injury when using skid-steer loaders

Original article published by Safety + Health

Skid-steer loaders, often used on construction sites for excavating and other tasks, have features that expose workers to many injury risks, including caught-between incidents and rollovers. Although these machines are equipped with protective systems such as seat belts and rollover protection, injuries continue to occur.

Help keep workers safe with these tips from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health:

  • Stay seated when operating the loader controls.
  • Wear the seat belt.
  • Keep your hands, arms, legs and head inside the operator’s compartment while operating the loader.
  • Load, unload and turn on level ground, when possible.
  • Travel and turn with the bucket in the lowest position possible.
  • Don’t exceed the manufacturer’s recommended load capacity.
  • Operate on stable surfaces only.
  • Travel straight up or down slopes with the heavy end of the machine pointed uphill.
  • Always look in the direction the loader is traveling.
  • Keep other workers away from the loader’s work area.
  • Don’t modify or bypass safety devices.

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.

Do you spend a lot of time on your feet?

Original article published by Safety + Health

Photo property of CDC

Jobs that require frequent standing can lead to a number of health-related problems, including sore feet, leg swelling, muscle fatigue, low back pain, and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.

One possible fix for some workstations? Make them adjustable. “Being able to adjust the working height is particularly important to match the workstation to the worker’s individual body size and to the worker’s particular task,” the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety says. “If the workstation cannot be adjusted, platforms to raise the shorter worker or pedestals on top of workstations for the tall worker should be considered.”

Other tips to reduce the negative effects of standing work:

  • Change working positions often.
  • Avoid extreme bending, stretching and twisting.
  • Give workers breaks to relax.
  • Organize work so materials are within easy reach.
  • Use a foot rail or portable footrest to shift body weight from both legs to one or the other.
  • Avoid reaching above or behind the shoulder line. Instead, shift feet to face the object.
  • Don’t reach beyond the point of comfort.

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.

Construction industry survey finds lack of training on preventing struck-bys

Original article published by Safety + Health

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Source: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — Nearly 4 out of 5 construction employers, supervisors and workers say their organization needs training on identifying and preventing struck-by hazards, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Researchers surveyed 208 individuals, 88% of whom have more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry. Most respondents – 77.9% and 72.7%, respectively – believe their organization needs to institute training to identify and prevent struck-by hazards, as well as conduct job hazard analyses before work or new tasks begin.

Further, the results show that the leading causes of struck-by injuries are working around heavy equipment or vehicles (35.6%) and falling or flying objects from work performed at height (29.8%). The employers identified three primary barriers to engaging in practices to prevent struck-by injuries: lack of understanding or information to address hazards (26.9%), scheduling pressure (25.5%), and lack of training in hazard identification and prevention (23.1%).

“Developing a training program for those involved in the planning process, which covers struck-by hazard identification, how to conduct job hazard analyses and best practices for prevention, would address the biggest barriers and support more effective planning and decision-making,” CPWR says.

Still, “filling knowledge and training gaps does not guarantee that companies and their employees will engage in safe practices,” CPWR cautions. The organization says the results show that employees with stop-work authority often enforce safe practices, and suggests “further exploration of stop-work authority’s use in the construction industry and how it could be used to reduce struck-by incidents may be warranted.”


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.

Preventing Workplace Violence

NSC releases report and playbook

Original article published by Safety + Health

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Itasca — New guidance from the National Safety Council is aimed at providing organizations with information and solutions to effectively mitigate and address workplace violence.

Nearly half of U.S. employers report they’re unprepared to prevent and respond to incidents on the job – even as workplace violence becomes more frequent, according to NSC. Recognizing this critical gap in safety preparedness, the nonprofit organization – through its Work to Zero initiative – recently released a report and playbook: Workplace Violence: Using Technology to Reduce Risk.

“Research shows that overt acts of workplace violence rarely occur out of the blue, but too often the catalyst for implementing effective means of prevention comes in the wake of tragedy,” said Paul Vincent, executive vice president of workplace practice at NSC. “This report provides business leaders and safety managers alike with a foundation for understanding the top workplace violence trends and industry-specific risk factors, while offering a playbook to prevent on-the-job assaults and fatalities before they occur.”

In addition to calling for more legislative action to address this national issue, the report details key steps employers can take to reduce workplace violence risk, including:
Creating a workplace violence prevention task force. In addition to bringing a multidisciplinary understanding of risk assessment, this group is likely to have a rapport with employees, making it ideally equipped to perform trainings on sensitive safety topics.
Conducting regular tabletop exercises or simulations to engage key stakeholders, identify gaps in existing prevention plans, and clarify worker responsibilities in emergency situations.
Using technology to help prevent workplace hazards. Notably, the report outlines the benefits and applications of 10 key technologies, such as digital floor plan mapping, virtual reality training and weapon detection systems.
Fostering a workplace culture in which psychological safety is prioritized, and where all workers feel empowered to voice concerns and initiate broader safety conversations.

“Employees serve as the eyes and ears of their organization, and their role in preventing workplace violence cannot be overstated,” said Emily Whitcomb, director of the Work to Zero initiative. “This report not only details how employers can implement the latest safety technology into their workplace, but identifies specific steps leaders can take to enhance employee engagement enterprise wide. Together, these safety solutions can make the difference between a high- and low-risk workplace.”


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.

Where to Place Fire Extinguishers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Photo: Jennifer Yario

Are your workplace fire extinguishers in the right place? According to the National Fire Protection Association, employers need to consider two key factors: accessibility and visibility.
Accessible: “Extinguishers should be placed where they are readily accessible in the event of a fire, which typically includes normal paths of travel.”
Visible: “If visual obstructions cannot be avoided, then arrows, lights or signs are needed to help indicate where a fire extinguisher is located.”

Then, depending on the weight of your extinguisher, NFPA has more placement guidelines.

If your extinguisher weighs more than 40 pounds:

  • The top of the extinguisher can’t be more than 3.5 feet from the ground.
  • The bottom of the extinguisher must be at least 4 inches off the ground.

If it weighs less than 40 pounds:

  • The top of the extinguisher can’t be more than 5 feet from the ground.
  • The bottom of extinguisher must be at least 4 inches off the ground.

In both cases, NPFA notes, “this includes extinguishers in cabinets, but it does not include wheeled extinguishers.”


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.

COVID-19 and Construction

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

CPWR report highlights pandemic’s impacts

Silver Spring, MD — The rate of nonfatal illnesses in the construction industry jumped 81.4% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the annual average for the previous four years, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Using data from that covered different time periods from 2016 to 2022, researchers found that the rate of nonfatal illnesses in the construction industry increased to 12.7 per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2020 from an average of 7.0 per 10,000 FTEs over the four previous years. Overall, around 8,700 nonfatal illnesses were recorded in 2020, compared with an annual average of 4,600 over the previous four years.

The number of nonfatal respiratory illnesses increased to 5,300 in 2020 from an annual average of 425 from 2016 to 2019. That equates to a large spike in the rate per 10,000 FTEs, to 7.7 from 0.6 – a 1,183% increase.

Looking at COVID-19 vaccination rates by major occupational category in May, construction and extraction workers (52.4%) trailed all others and lagged far behind the percentage for all industries, which was 81.7. Those workers’ top reasons for not getting vaccinated, according to a Delphi Group survey that allowed respondents to choose more than one, were:

  • Distrust of COVID-19 vaccines (61.4%)
  • Distrust of the government (59.2%)
  • Don’t need a vaccine (58.7%)
  • Worried about side effects (55.8%)

“Construction work was deemed essential early in the pandemic,” the report states. “One of the most important steps to keeping construction workers safe on the worksite is the COVID-19 vaccine. The dramatic increases in nonfatal respiratory illnesses among construction workers highlight the pandemic’s impact on construction worker safety and health and the need for vaccinations.”

CPWR highlights its COVID-19 Construction Clearinghouse among its resources “on the science and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine.”


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.

Safe Use of Extension Cords

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Extension Cords Use

Extension cords are used found in many types of workplaces, from offices and warehouses to retail stores and construction job sites.

Unfortunately, they’re often commonly misused. Let’s go over some do’s and don’ts of extension cord safety from the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Do:

  • Inspect an extension cord for physical damage before use.
  • Check that the cord matches the wattage rating on the appliance or tool you’re using.
  • Make sure all cords have been approved by an independent testing laboratory such as UL.
  • Fully insert the extension cord into the outlet.
  • Keep cords away from water.
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupter protection when using extension cords in wet or damp environments.
  • Unplug extension cords when not in use.
  • Consider installing overhead pendants to reduce trip hazards.

Don’t:

  • Use an indoor extension cord outdoors.
  • Overload cords with more than the proper electrical load.
  • Run extension cords through doorways, holes in ceilings, walls or floors.
  • Daisy chain, or connect, multiple power strips together.
  • Move, bend or modify any of the extension cord plug’s metal parts.
  • Force a plug into an outlet.
  • Drive over an extension cord.
  • Attach extension cords to the wall with nails or staples.

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.

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.

Truck driver/equipment operator crushed while loading backhoe onto trailer

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Report number: 71-219-2022
Issued by: Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of report: April 18, 2022

A 64-year-old truck driver and equipment operator working for a gravel-hauling and equipment-moving company drove his employer’s truck with an attached flatbed trailer to a jobsite. His task was to load a backhoe and transport it to another site. Although no one witnessed the incident, a backup warning alarm was sounding when first responders arrived, suggesting the driver was operating the backhoe in reverse. It’s possible the driver had started moving the backhoe up the trailer’s two metal ramps, then backed up to better position its wheels. As he was doing this, the wet, muddy tires may have slipped on the ramps, resulting in a rear wheel going off a ramp and causing the backhoe to roll over onto its side. The driver either attempted to jump from the operator’s seat or was thrown from it. He was crushed under the backhoe’s rollover protective structure and died. The backhoe had a seat belt that, if used, would have kept the driver in the seat and within the protective structure as the equipment rolled.

To help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Train equipment operators and ensure they always use a seat belt, including when loading and unloading onto a transport trailer.
  • Use a spotter to provide directions to the equipment operator during loading and unloading to ensure the operator positions equipment correctly for safe movement on and off the trailer.
  • Create a job hazard analysis for safely moving construction equipment.

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.