Severe Violator Enforcement Program Updated

Original article published by OSHA

Program focuses on employers who repeatedly disregard workers’ safety, health

WASHINGTON – To strengthen enforcement and improve compliance with workplace safety standards and reduce worker injuries and illnesses, the U.S. Department of Labor is expanding the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The new criteria include violations of all hazards and OSHA standards and will continue to focus on repeat offenders in all industries. Previously, an employer could be in the program for failing to meet a limited number of standards. The changes will broaden the program’s scope with the possibility that additional industries will fall within its parameters.

Since 2010, the Severe Violator Enforcement Program has focused on enforcement and inspection resources on employers who either willfully or repeatedly violate federal health and safety laws or demonstrate a refusal to correct previous violations. In addition to being included on a public list of the nation’s severe violators, employers are subject to follow-up inspections.

“The Severe Violator Enforcement Program empowers OSHA to sharpen its focus on employers who – even after receiving citations for exposing workers to hazardous conditions and serious dangers – fail to mitigate these hazards,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Today’s expanded criteria reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring OSHA has the tools it needs to ensure employers protect their workers or hold them accountable when they fail to provide safe and healthy workplaces.”

Specifically, the updated criteria include the following:

  • Program placement for employers with citations for at least two willful or repeated violations or who receive failure-to-abate notices based on the presence of high-gravity serious violations.
  • Follow-up or referral inspections made one year – but not longer than two years – after the final order.
  • Potential removal from the Severe Violator Enforcement Program three years after the date of receiving verification that the employer has abated all program-related hazards. In the past, removal could occur three years after the final order date.
  • Employers’ ability to reduce time spent in the program to two years, if they consent to an enhanced settlement agreement that includes use of a safety and health management system with seven basic elements in OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.

The updated program instruction replaces the 2010 instruction, and remains in effect until canceled or superseded.

Read Assistant Secretary Parker’s blog on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.


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.

Help prevent workplace violence

Original article published by Safety + Health

Workplace violence led to nearly 18,000 deaths over a recent 27-year period, according to a recently published report from NIOSH and two other federal agencies.

A total of 17,865 workers were victims of workplace homicides from 1992 to 2019 – with a high of 1,080 in 1994. In 2019, workplace homicides totaled 454 – a 58% drop from the 1994 total. Follow these do’s and don’ts from NIOSH to help prevent workplace violence.

Do:

  • Attend employer-provided training on how to recognize, avoid and respond to potential workplace violence situations.
  • Report perceived threats or acts of violence to your supervisor.
  • Follow existing workplace policies.
  • Remain aware of and support co-workers and customers if a threatening situation occurs.

Don’t:

  • Argue with a co-worker or customer if they threaten you or become violent. If needed, go to a safe area (ideally, NIOSH says, a room that locks from the inside, has a second exit route, and has a phone or silent alarm).
  • Underestimate a threat. Take each one seriously.
  • Ignore odd behavior. Report it.

Indicators of Workplace Violence, 2019

National Crime Victimization Survey


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.

Suicide Prevention Month: ‘Employers can play an important role’

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — September is Suicide Prevention Month, and OSHA is urging employers to actively promote available resources to all workers.

The month includes National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 4-10) and Construction Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 5-9).

Suicide is a leading cause of death among working-age adults in the United States, OSHA says. Additionally, 2 out of 5 U.S. adults have a mental health issue or substance use disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Work-related stress can have an impact on mental health and, without proper support, could lead to substance abuse and even suicide,” OSHA says. “Workers in the construction industry are generally at a higher risk for suicide due to work-related stress factors including seasonal/temporary employment, demanding work schedules and serious injuries, which are sometimes treated with opioids. Not addressing the underlying stressors or injuries can exacerbate mental health symptoms and may increase the risk of substance abuse or even suicide.

“By demonstrating their commitment to a safe and healthy workplace, employers can play an important role in reducing stigma and promoting mental health. In return, they may experience benefits such as improved workplace safety, higher morale, increased productivity, reduced turnover and decreased operating costs.”

The agency’s Preventing Suicides webpage has resources on developing mental health and safety programs, so workers can get the help they need. Among the goals of these programs:

  • Strive to create a workplace environment that fosters open communication and a sense of belonging.
  • Implement a workplace safety and health program that proactively identifies and addresses hazards that could lead to injuries or illnesses.
  • Provide resources and programs that promote employee health and well-being, as well as support work-life balance.
  • Inform employees of resources and treatment services available for mental health and substance use disorders through employee assistance or health insurance programs, or in the community.
  • Provide accommodations and return-to-work assistance for employees seeking treatment or who are in recovery.

 

The webpage also has links to 60-second public service announcements in English and Spanish, posters, and links to additional resources.

“When you work closely with someone, you may sense when something is wrong,” OSHA says. “If you are concerned about a co-worker, talk with them privately and listen without judgment. Encourage them to get help. If someone is in crisis, stay with them and get help. If you believe a co-worker is at immediate risk of suicide, stay with them until you can get further help. Contact emergency services or call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.”


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.

National Forklift Safety Day

First published by Industrial Truck Association

This year we celebrate the 9th annual National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD) on June 14, 2022. We are excited to be able to host this year’s event in person and live online. All are welcome to attend in person or virtually. Whether you are a member of the ITA, work in the material handling industry, government or come from the end user community, we invite you to take part in NFSD 2022.

National Forklift Safety Day 2022
June 14, 2022
National Press Club
Washington, DC

Register Now!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO ATTEND NFSD 2022 VIRTUALLY

Our speaker line-up this year includes:

  • Chuck Pascarelli, President, Americas, Hyster-Yale Group (Chairman, ITA Board of Directors)
  • Douglas Parker, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA)
  • Jonathan Dawley, President & CEO, KION North America, (NFSD Chair 2022)
  • Lorne Weeter, Vice President of Sales, Mobile Automation, Dematic
  • Brian Duffy, Director of Corporate Environmental and Manufacturing Safety, Crown Equipment Corporation

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.

2022 Trench Safety Stand Down

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Fairfax, VA — The National Utility Contractors Association, in partnership with OSHA, is calling on employers involved in trench work to participate in the seventh annual Trench Safety Stand Down.

Set to take place June 20-24, the stand-down is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of trenching and excavation, as well as promoting the use of protective systems such as sloping, shoring and shielding. OSHA’s standard on trenching and excavation (1926.650, Subpart P) requires protective systems for trenches that are 5 feet or deeper, unless the excavation occurs in stable rock.

OSHA warns that trench collapses are “rarely survivable” because a cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds. Citing OSHA data, NUCA says 17 workers died in trench incidents in 2018.

The stand-down, which is part of Trench Safety Month, is geared toward “anyone who wants to prevent trenching and excavation hazards in the workplace.” NUCA encourages various occupations to get involved, including those employed in utility, residential and highway construction, as well as plumbers and safety equipment manufacturers. Free online tools, including checklists, fact sheets and videos, are available on the NUCA website.

“NUCA and the utility construction industry members must seek out every measure possible to reduce risks on our jobsites, which we all know can be a dangerous place to work if someone is unaware of its hazards,” NUCA says. “Time and time again, evidence shows that the key to significantly reducing the risks associated with our industry is employee training and reinforcement through events such as the TSSD Week.”


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.

Control Hazardous Energy: 6 Steps

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: OSHA

A mainstay on OSHA’s Top 10 list of most cited violations is the standard on lockout/tagout (1910.147).

Simply put, “lockout/tagout is a safety procedure used to make sure equipment and machines are properly shut off and not able to start during maintenance or repair work,” the Texas Department of Insurance says. “This is known as controlling hazardous energy.”

Help prevent the unexpected release of stored energy with these six steps from TDI:

  1. Prepare. An authorized employee, defined by OSHA as “a person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment,” must identify and control all potential forms of hazardous energy.
  2. Shut down. Turn off the equipment using the proper procedures. Inform all employees who use the equipment about the shutdown.
  3. Isolation. Isolate equipment from energy sources. This may mean turning off power at a breaker.
  4. Lock and tag. Apply a lockout device to keep equipment in an energy-isolating position. Then, place a tag on the device with the authorized employee’s name who performed the lockout.
  5. Check for stored energy. Hazardous energy can remain in the equipment even after the energy source has been disconnected and the machine has been locked out.
  6. Verify isolation. Check again to ensure the equipment is isolated and deenergized before service or maintenance begins.

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.

NIOSH to Host Free Webinars on Preventing Struck-By Incidents

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Photo: CPWR

Washington — The third annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-By Incidents – set for April 11-15 – will feature four free webinars, including one in Spanish.

The event, scheduled in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, is aimed at raising awareness of struck-by hazards and ways to prevent them. According to OSHA, the four most common struck-by hazards involve flying, falling, swinging or rolling objects. The webinars, hosted by NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda Construction Sector Council, are (all times Eastern):

NIOSH encourages employers to pause work during the stand-down to present a safety talk, conduct equipment inspections and/or discuss common struck-by hazards in construction. Discussions on training, hazards, protective methods, and company safety policies and goals also are encouraged.

Downloadable resources related to work zone, lift zone and heavy equipment safety are available online from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. They include two webinars from the last year’s event, along with links to more than 25 toolbox talks, infographics, data bulletins and blog posts.

NIOSH is partnering with OSHA, CPWR, and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association on the stand-down.


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.

Electrical hazards in construction: OSHA and others to host webinar

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Electrical hazards in construction: OSHA

Photo property of OSHA

Protecting construction workers from electrical hazards is the topic of a March 22 webinar hosted by OSHA and a trio of organizations.

Scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern, the 90-minute webinar will be moderated by Kevin Cannon, director of safety and health services at the Associated General Contractors of America. Panelists are:

  • Nicholas DeJesse, OSHA regional administrator
  • Rocky Rowlett, vice president of safety at Faith Technologies
  • Scott Sears, director of safety and loss control at Walker Engineering
  • Jessica Bunting, research to practice director at CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

“Two experienced electrical contractors will discuss workplace safety risks faced by their employees and how they keep their workers safe,” a Department of Labor press release states. “Related research and evidence-based solutions for addressing safety hazards will be provided by a Center to Protect Workers’ Rights representative.” Electrical hazards in construction: OSHA

Time will be reserved for a Q&A session.


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. Electrical hazards in construction: OSHA

Tips to limit dust exposure in mines

First published by NIOSH

NIOSH has published a booklet that provides solutions that you can use to reduce exposure to dust at surface mines and facilities. Practical controls are presented that not only lower dust exposures but also reduce the risks for both musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and traumatic injuries (e.g., slips, trips, and falls). Beyond the obvious health benefits, it can be easier to justify engineering controls and interventions when greater impact can be achieved.

While traumatic injuries occur suddenly, both MSDs and respirable diseases tend to be the result of cumulative overexposures. Exposures both at home and at the workplace can combine and manifest themselves in the later years of your career, depending on your exposure rates and cumulative stress.

The information provided is based on experience gained within NIOSH and highlights solutions that are relatively low in cost and easy to implement. Dust control solutions that are practical to maintain have the greatest potential for sustained use and ultimately improved mine worker health and safety. This booklet is only a primer on dust control and injury prevention at metal/nonmetal mining operations. Additional resources are provided for more comprehensive coverage of these topics.


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.