OSHA Fines Increase for First Time Since Early ’90s

Did you know that OSHA recently increased penalty amounts for those businesses found in violation of the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Laws?  The increase took affect on August 1, 2016 and comes as a result of federal penalty adjustments mandated by Congress in 2015. This change may affect a variety of businesses and industries, so it is important that you know what these changes could mean for your organization.

Below is a list of the new penalties based on violation:

osha-violation-rates

To learn more about this increase or to find the variety of options for employers looking for compliance assistance, visit the OSHA website.

OSHA launches occupational hearing safety competition

ear plugThe U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration, in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, have launched a competition “…with the dual goals of inspiring creative ideas and raising business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation,” according to a recent OSHA press release.

Twenty-two million workers risk losing their hearing from workplace noise hazards, costing businesses an estimated $242 million annually in workers’ compensation, according to the press release. The “Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge” campaign aims to help decrease those numbers. The competition, open to the general public, encourages participants to create technology that will improve occupational hearing protection. Suggested topics detailed in the press release include:

  • Technology that will enhance employer training and improve effective use of hearing protection.
  • Technology that alerts workers when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss.
  • Technology that allows workers to hear important alerts or human voices while remaining protected from harmful noise.

Ten finalists of the competition will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges on October 27 in Washington D.C. Idea submissions are due by September 30. To learn more about the competition, or submit ideas, click here.

Using safe chemicals in the workplace

Chemicals_in_flasksWorkers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Analyzing chemicals present in the workplace, using appropriate precautions and transitioning to safer alternatives can aid in preventing chemical-related injuries.

OSHA suggests six steps to transitioning to safer chemicals. They are: engage, inventory and prioritize, identify, access and compare, select, test and evaluate. To access the OSHA chemical transitioning toolkit, click here.

Workers can further protect themselves from chemical exposure by understanding and analyzing the chemicals present in facilities, and by following all appropriate safety procedures.

OSHA amends Dipping and Coating Operations

news-636978_960_720The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently amended OH Part 526 Dipping and Coating Operations, effective March 15, 2016. OH Part 526 provides guidelines for Michigan employers and employees on dipping and coating procedures.

To see the amendments to OH Part 526 Dipping and Coating Operations, click here.

Do you know the six common workplace hazards?

characters-696949_960_720Workplace hazards fall into six different categories, according to OSHA. They are: safety, biological, physical, ergonomic, chemical and work organization hazards. Employers and employees can protect themselves by recognizing all six.

Safety

Safety hazards are the most common, and can occur in any type of workplace. They include many common hazards that can cause injury, illness or death, such as spills on floors, unguarded machinery, electrical hazards and working from heights, among others. Safety hazards are easily avoided with environmental awareness and safety mindfulness.

Physical

Physical hazards are elements within the environment that can physically harm the body without touching it, including radiation, exposure to sunlight, temperature extremes and loud noise. Though often invisible, employers and employees should be aware of physical hazards, and take the necessary steps to prevent them. This includes wearing appropriate clothing, sun screen and ear plugs.

Chemical

Chemical hazards are present whenever a worker is exposed to chemicals in any form, including solids, liquids and gases. Be aware of all liquid solutions, vapors and fumes, gases, flammable materials and pesticides in the workplace, and make sure hazards are labeled appropriately.

Biological

Biological hazards are present whenever workers interact with people, animals and plants. These type of hazards include exposure to blood or other bodily fluids, bacteria, insect bites and animal droppings.

Ergonomic

Ergonomic hazards are associated with work conditions. They occur when the type of work, posture and working conditions put strain on the body, and include improperly adjusted work stations, frequent lifting, repetitive movement and vibration.

Work Organization

Work organization hazards are associated with workplace issues such as workload, lack of respect and other stressors. They include workload demands, workplace violence, sexual harassment, social support and flexibility. Work organization hazards can be avoided through strong communication between supervisors and employees, and maintaining mutual respect among coworkers. They can often be resolved through the human resources department.

Understanding and recognizing the six types of common workplace safety hazards can keep you, and your coworkers, safe.

OSHA Penalties Set to Increase After August 1st

money-40015_960_720#Didyouknow that maximum penalties for OSHA violations are set to increase after August 1st? This is the first time since 1990 that an increase has taken place. Maximum penalties for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471 while maximum penalties for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709. To learn more about the new mandate and how it could affect your company, click here.

Save a Coworker’s Life and Learn First Aid!

June is national safety month.  Companies around the country will be reminding workers to practice safe habits in the workplace and at home, but are you also keeping the health of your coworkers in mind?

Learning basic first aid techniques can save the lives of your family members, friends and coworkers, and can be fun! Practicing these techniques can make homes and workplaces safer for everyone:

CPR and Defibrillators

To administer CPR on an unresponsive person who is not breathing or whose heart has stopped beating due to a heart attack, drowning or other medical emergency, follow the steps of CAB (compression, airway, and breathing.) Dial 911 before beginning, and follow the instructions on an AED defibrillator if one is available.  If you are not trained in CPR, then administer hands-only CPR.

Compression

Place the heel of one hand atop the chest and between the nipples, and the other on top of the first hand. Use your upper body to push down on the chest, approximately two inches. Begin pumping about 100 compressions per minute. After 30 compressions, move to the next step.

Airway

Tilt the person’s head back and lift the chin forward. Check for rising chest motion, listen for breathing sounds and feel for the person’s breath on your cheek and ears. If the person is not breathing normally, move to the next step.

Breathing

Pinch the person’s nostrils shut and cover his or her mouth with yours. Blow one breath, lasting for about one second, into the person’s mouth and check for breathing. Administer a second breath. If the person still is not breathing normally, begin the cycle over. Continue until the person is breathing normally or emergency medical help arrives.

Choking

If a person is experiencing inability to breath due to choking, begin the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the blockage. The universal sign for choking is the hands clutching the neck.

Steps

  1. Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the waist.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and place it slightly above the person’s navel.
  3. Grab the fist with the other hand, and press hard into the abdomen in an upward thrust. Continue until the blockage is dislodged or emergency medical personnel arrive.

Heat Exhaustion and Hypothermia

Working in extreme weather conditions can cause heat exhaustion- or the opposite, hypothermia. Understand the signs of both, and what to do when they occur.

Heat Exhaustion

Signs: Dizziness, nausea or vomiting, heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, muscle cramps, flushed face, weakness or fatigue

How to treat: Immediately remove the person from the source of heat and into a cool environment, or the heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke. Lay the person down and elevate the legs. Give the person water to drink, and spray them with cool water. Call 911.

Hypothermia

Signs: Shivering, slurred speech, shallow breathing, weak pulse, clumsiness, drowsiness, confusion

How to treat: Remove the person from the cold, if possible. Protect the person from the cold, especially around the neck and head. Gradually warm the person, beginning with the center of the body. DO NOT warm the person with a hot bath, and do not attempt to warm or massage the arms or legs. Call 911.

Knowing basic first aid techniques can help protect ourselves and those around us. This month, take time to practice these methods, and always be aware of your surroundings.

To have emergency first aid information with you at all times, you can download theAmerican Red Cross First Aid app for your phone. A full list of first aid techniques for other medical emergencies can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid