Biden says OSHA will issue an emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — OSHA is developing an emergency rule that will require employers with at least 100 workers to “ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week,” President Joe Biden announced Sept. 9.

The announcement was made on the same day the president signed Executive Orders requiring federal employees and most federal contractors to be vaccinated. Additionally, nursing home, hospital, home health care facility and other medical facility workers – who treat Medicare or Medicaid patients – are now required to be vaccinated.

“Some of the biggest companies are already requiring [vaccines],” Biden said. “The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers. We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.”

The emergency rule will require covered employers to give workers paid time off to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Biden said.

A recent survey conducted by the National Safety Council found that employer-required vaccinations resulted in a 35% increase in the number workers who got a shot(s), according a Sept. 10 press release from the nonprofit organization.

“With the nation’s death toll nearing 650,000 lives lost, we must double down on evidence-based solutions – COVID-19 vaccinations – to keep people safe,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said. “Employers are widely trusted by their workers and can play a pivotal role in increasing vaccination rates of people throughout the country to save lives, from the workplace to anyplace.”

In a statement issued Sept. 9, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee, said the president had “no business issuing a burdensome vaccine regulation that will further harm overworked and struggling business owners.”

The National Association of Manufacturers, which represents more than 14,000 U.S. businesses, said it looks forward to working with the administration “to ensure any vaccine requirements are structured in a way that does not negatively impact the operations of manufacturers that have been leading through the pandemic to keep Americans safe.”

Meanwhile, Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, an advocacy group, called the mandate a “missed opportunity” to expand COVID-19 prevention plans to all workplaces. An OSHA emergency temporary standard, which went into effect in June, applies only to health care settings. In addition, National COSH Co-Executive Director Jessica Martinez notes that physical distancing, improved ventilation, shift rotation and personal protective equipment are “important components of an overall plan to reduce risk and stop the virus,” but are missing from Biden’s plan.

Employers who have questions about implementing a vaccine requirement or providing other safety measures can consult resources from SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns – an NSC initiative aimed at developing industry- and risk-specific resources and recommendations for employers.

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.

NSC calls on employers to require employee COVID-19 vaccination

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Itasca, IL — The National Safety Council is urging all employers to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for their workers and unveiled a guide outlining four levels of requirement for various workplace risk profiles.

A recent survey conducted by NSC found that when employers require COVID-19 vaccination, the number of workers who get a shot increases 35%.

“The data is clear: Workplace requirements are a proven way to encourage vaccine uptake and accelerate the country’s path to community immunity against COVID-19,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said. “Consistent with our mission, we’re calling on employers to advance the nation’s progress on living safely with this virus by requiring vaccines in a manner that’s appropriate for their workers’ risk profile.”

To aid employers in their efforts to get workers vaccinated, NSC issued guidance outlining a spectrum of vaccine requirement approaches and considerations for implementation in varying work settings. This release of the guidance comes after the Food and Drug Administration’s recent formal approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

NSC also urges federal and state governments to remove prohibitions or barriers to vaccine requirements, expedite the full approval of vaccines, and issue factual updates on vaccines as quickly as possible.

“It’s clear COVID-19 has and will continue, perhaps indefinitely, to affect the way we live and work,” Martin said. “Employers must put worker health and safety first. That begins with prioritizing vaccination.”

Hear more about NSC’s vaccine implementation plan. NSC will host a webinar at 10 a.m. Central on Sept. 9. Register today.

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.

Machinist dies after being pulled into manual lathe

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Case report: 21KY002
Issued by: Kentucky State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: Feb. 17, 2021

A 52-year-old machinist at a manufacturing company was preparing to spot drill the center of a 103-inch piece of round steel in a manual lathe. Because of the length of the steel, 24 inches of the material was protruding out of the back of the unguarded lathe, held in place with an aftermarket clamping device that rotates as the lathe rotates. Security footage showed that while the lathe was in operation and the steel rod was spinning, the machinist attempted to grab a glove from the top of the lathe. The sleeve of his shirt became entangled on the clamping device, pulling him into the lathe between the motor and rotating piece of steel. As the lathe continued to turn, the machinist’s body rotated around the piece of steel and struck the motor about 12 times. An employee in the changing room heard the event, ran out to investigate, shut down the machine and called emergency medical services. First responders transported the partially conscious machinist to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Cause of death was listed as traumatic blunt force injuries.

To help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Fabricate or purchase guarding and affix it to machines to protect operators from rotating components.
  • Mark “No entry areas” clearly and provide applicable training.
  • Prohibit machine operators from wearing loose-fitting clothing while operating lathes.
  • Consider implementing a job hazard analysis procedure.
  • Regularly provide hazard awareness training to employees.

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.

Carbon monoxide: The silent killer

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Do your employees use gas-powered equipment at work? If so, they may be exposed to carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can deprive an exposed worker’s brain, heart and other vital organs of oxygen. Symptoms of mild exposure include nausea, dizziness and headache. High exposure can result in confusion, loss of consciousness, muscle weakness and more.

Protect your workers from carbon monoxide poisoning. Oregon OSHA has tips to help.

  • Survey your workplace to identify potential sources of exposure.
  • Educate workers about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Know the sources: Besides gasoline, natural gas, oil, propane, coal and wood can produce carbon monoxide.
  • Keep internal-combustion equipment in good operating condition.
  • Don’t use or operate fuel-powered engines or tools inside buildings or in partially enclosed areas.
  • Regularly test the air in poorly ventilated areas. Use mechanical ventilation when possible to keep carbon monoxide below unsafe exposure levels.
  • Use personal CO monitors where potential sources of carbon monoxide exist, Oregon OSHA says. “These monitors should be equipped with audible alarms to warn workers when CO concentrations are too high.”

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.

OSHA Provides Additional Resources to Prevent Heat Illness and Death on Construction Jobsites

Prevent Heat Illness and Death on Construction Jobsites

Photo property of OSHA

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 40% of heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry.  As with all incidents, heat illness is entirely preventable, provided you develop and implement the appropriate preventive measures.

On July 15, OSHA released additional materials to educate the workforce on heat illness prevention. These resources include:

These add to the materials OSHA issued on July 2, which include:

Visit for heat planning and supervision and heat illness prevention guidance to help you protect your workers. Also, visit your app store to download the Heat Safety Tool smartphone app from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, which provides the heat index (temperature and relative humidity), symptoms of and first aid treatment for heat illness, FAQs and additional tips for working in the heat.

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.

Research review strengthens link between sarcoidosis, workplace exposures

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Toronto — Findings over the past decade – including the results of case studies in the past two to three years – have strengthened the link between the lung disease sarcoidosis and on-the-job exposures to, most notably, silica and silicates, dust from the World Trade Center, and metals, according to a recent research review.

Conducted by a pair of Canadian researchers, the review of epidemiologic studies includes a Swedish study of nearly 11,000 workers that showed respirable crystalline silica exposure among concrete workers, miners, casters, masons, and ceramic and glass manufacturers led to an increased risk of sarcoidosis, described by the National Institutes of Health as “an inflammatory disease characterized by the development and growth of tiny lumps of cells called granulomas,” which, if they clump together in an organ, “can lead to permanent scarring or thickening of the organ tissue.”

A nearly twofold disease risk increase was discovered in a study of almost 298,000 Swedish construction workers with medium to high silica exposure. Among Swedish iron foundry workers with high exposure to silica, researchers observed a higher risk for both sarcoidosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

A study of New York City firefighters showed that cases of a sarcoid-like pulmonary disease occurred at a rate of 12.9 cases per 100,000 workers from 1985 to 1998. In the 12 months after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, that rate rose to 86 cases per 100,000 workers.

Although the two researchers note that not all sarcoidosis cases have an identified cause, recognizing occupational causes is important. When the cause of the disease is work-related, the duo says its recognition is critical “to enable effective treatment through the removal of the affected worker from exposure and to inform intervention aimed at primary prevention.”

The researchers also note that because of a more firm link to on-the-job exposures, the practice of assigning sarcoidosis cases as idiopathic by default should be discontinued.

The study was published online June 5 in the journal CHEST.

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.

Mental illness an ‘unrecognized crisis’ among miners with black lung, study shows

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Charlottesville, VA — Coal miners with black lung disease commonly face various mental health issues, including thoughts of suicide, results of a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia show.

The researchers examined data from more than 2,800 coal miners who were evaluated for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder through a voluntary survey at Stone Mountain Health Services, a black lung clinic in Jonesville, VA. The average age of the participants – an overwhelming majority of whom were white males – was 66.

More than 1 out of 3 participants reported symptoms consistent with a major depressive disorder (37.4%) or had clinically significant anxiety (38.9%). Additionally, 26.2% exhibited symptoms of PTSD and 11.4% had considered suicide in the past year. The percentage of suicidal thoughts among all men in Virginia is 2.9.

The researchers note that the percentage “of mental illness far exceeded those documented in coal mining populations internationally.” Miners who need supplemental oxygen to assist with breathing showed accelerated rates of suicidal thoughts (15.9%), anxiety (47.7%) and depression (48.5%).

“This study highlights the unrecognized crisis of mental illness in miners that warrants urgent attention, resources and expanded care,” Drew Harris, lead study author and pulmonary medicine expert at UVA Health, said in a press release, adding that the percentage of “mental illness identified in this large population of U.S. coal miners is shocking. Improved screening and treatment of mental illness in this population is an urgent, unmet need that warrants urgent action.”

Also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, black lung is a deadly but preventable condition. Rates of black lung disease have more than doubled over the past 15 years, says NIOSH, which adds that symptoms may include coughing, excessive phlegm, shortness of breath, labored breathing and chest tightness.

The agency provides free, confidential health screenings through its Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program.

The study was published online May 25 in JAMA Network Open.

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.

Powered Haulage Accidents – Safety Alert

First published by MSHA

Stop Powered Haulage Accidents: Stay Alert!  Stay Alive!

  • Fatalities and accidents involving mobile equipment: shuttle cars, scoops, locomotives, front end loaders, haulage equipment, service and pickup trucks continue to occur at a disproportionate high rate.
Powered Haulage Accidents
Photo property of
Best Practices:
  • Know where in the workplace others are and communicate with them: use radios, mirrors, cameras, headlights, strobe warning lights, horns, and buggy-whip flags.  Stay clear of mobile equipment blind spots.
  • Set mobile equipment parking brakes and chock the wheels when vehicles are unattended:  Don’t stand, walk or work directly downhill of parked vehicles.  Stay clear of moving vehicles.
  • Establish safe traffic patterns and rules: post signage, ensure rules are followed, adhere to speed limits and approach intersections with caution.
  • Use proximity detection/collision avoidance systems.
  • Ensure that seat belts are maintained in good condition and worn at all times.
  • Ensure that conveyors are deenergized, locked, tagged and blocked against motion before removing guards or beginning work.

*Make sure miners and mine operators are trained in best practices.

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.

OSHA revises its National Emphasis Program, updates Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19

First published by OSHA

Photo property of OSHA

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revised its National Emphasis Program (NEP) for COVID-19. The agency launched the NEP on March 12, 2021, to focus on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus, and on employers that engage in retaliation against employees who complain about unsafe or unhealthful conditions or exercise other rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Based on an evaluation of inspection and illness data, the revised NEP (DIR 2021-03 (CPL 03), adjusts the targeted industries to those most at risk for COVID-19 exposure, but still includes healthcare and non-healthcare, such as meat and poultry processing. The revised NEP also removes an appendix that provided a list of Secondary Target Industries for the former COVID-19 NEP. For inspections in healthcare, the revised NEP refers compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) to the new directive, DIR 2021-02 (CPL 02), Inspection Procedures for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, issued on June 28, 2021.

Inspections in non-healthcare establishments will follow procedures outlined in the Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan published July 7, 2021. The updated interim enforcement response plan (IERP) replaces the memorandum dated March 12, 2021. Updates in the July 2021 IERP include:

  • Enforcing protections for workers in non-healthcare industries who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated;
  • Where respirator supplies and services are readily available, OSHA will stop exercising enforcement discretion for temporary noncompliance with the Respiratory Protection standard based on employers’ claims of supply shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • OSHA will no longer exercise enforcement discretion for the same requirements in other health standards, where full compliance may have been difficult for some non-healthcare employers due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Updated instructions and guidance for OSHA area offices and CSHOs for handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals and severe illness reports;
  • Ensuring workers are protected from retaliation; and
  • References to the revised NEP for COVID-19.

The goals of the IERP are to identify exposures to COVID-19 hazards, ensure appropriate control measures are implemented, and address violations of OSHA standards (other than the ETS) and the General Duty Clause. The updated IERP will remain in effect until further notice and is intended to be time-limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis.

The ETS became effective June 21, 2021. Healthcare employers must comply with most provisions by July 6, 2021, and with training, ventilation, and barrier provisions by July 21, 2021.

Learn more about the COVID-19 Healthcare ETS.

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.

57% of U.S. adults want masks required for all onsite workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Alexandria, VA — About 6 out of 10 U.S. adults believe masks should be a requirement for workers at onsite locations, even if those workers are fully vaccinated, according to the results of a recent Harris Poll survey commissioned by the American Staffing Association.

The Workforce Monitor online survey of 2,066 adults 18 and older was conducted June 10-14. Participants were asked for their opinions on worker behaviors and concerns as COVID-19 cases decrease nationally.

As more employers bring employees back to physical locations, 57% of respondents said onsite workers should be required to wear a mask – even if they’re vaccinated. Nearly two-thirds said workers have a right to know if their colleagues have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 60% said it’s no one’s business if they’ve received the vaccine.

Broken down by race/ethnicity, Black (70%) and Hispanic/Latino (64%) respondents were most likely to believe masks should be required, while 50% of Whites/Caucasians reported the same.

Regionally, 61% of respondents in the West and Northeast said workers should be required to wear masks. The lowest percentage was in the Midwest (52%). The survey results show that 74% of those in the Northeast said employees should have the right to know if colleagues are vaccinated.

“As brick-and-mortar workplaces reopen, workers are anxious about being around their colleagues once again,” ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist said in a June 24 press release. “Employers must clearly communicate what steps they are taking to make their workplaces safe for their employees as they reopen.”

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.