Tag Archive | "health & safety watch"

OSHA Safe +Sound Week

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Health & Safety Watch: Safe+Sound Week

Posted on 03 August 2021 by cradmin

Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe. This year OSHA invites companies to participate August 9-15.

Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started, energize an existing one or provide a chance to recognize your safety successes.

All organizations looking for an opportunity to recognize their commitment to safety are welcome to participate. Last year, more than 3,400 businesses helped to raise awareness about workers’ health and safety.

Sign up on the OSHA website and then identify activities and events to plan and promote for your workplace or community. The site includes example activities, graphics and other resources. After you’ve completed your events, you can download a certificate and virtual challenge coin to recognize your organization.

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Laticrete_PROJECT_SAFETY_main_banner

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Health & Safety Watch: LATICRETE Launches ProjectSafety™ Campaign

Posted on 20 May 2021 by cradmin

LATICRETE, a manufacturer of construction solutions for the building industry, has launched the ProjectSafety™ campaign, a company-wide initiative that provides access to safety education and alternative installation techniques to help lower the staggering injury and ailment statistics associated with the construction industry. This industry’s workforce handles tasks that range from carrying heavy loads to performing repetitive tasks to safely navigating often chaotic job sites, manufacturing facilities, warehouses and laboratories, placing workers at risk of serious injury. The ProjectSafety mission is to raise awareness about the risks of construction installations and help educate the industry on ways to mitigate those risks.

In phase one, ProjectSafety is a focused effort toward educating construction workers in all trades, at all levels of projects and general contractors about the risks associated with respirable crystalline silica and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as best practices for back, knee, hand and eye safety in the workplace. Phases two and three will expand with added content to Laticrete University covering health and safety best practices, training and education about products that are safer to handle and install.

Later this year in ProjectSafety phase two, LATICRETE will help increase awareness by providing education about potential issues that can affect construction professionals via access to webinars, data sheets and product information through the ProjectSafety page on the LATICRETE website.
The goal of the campaign is for companies to adopt accountability measures to effectively execute safer installation methods, countermeasures and actions to lessen the risks and impact on the installer and their business, resulting in an improved work environment. These measures include specific practices such as:

  • proper bending and lifting techniques
  • knowledge of what products should be used or avoided on the jobsite
  • types of tools and PPE that should be worn and when
  • education on a variety of certification systems and what they mean in regards to safety protocols
  • how various lightweight and rapid curing product solutions can be implemented
  • how to limit exposure to harmful chemicals such as respirable crystalline silica and VOCs

For more information visit laticrete.com/projectsafety.

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OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program

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OSHA Solicits Public Input on Whistleblower Program

Posted on 22 April 2021 by cradmin

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold a teleconference meeting May 19, 2021, to solicit public comments and suggestions on key issues facing OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.

This is the seventh in a series of meetings on how the agency can improve the whistleblower program.

Open to the public, the meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT via telephone. Those interested in joining or participating in the meeting must register by May 12, 2021. Call-in information will be provided to all registrants. There is no fee to register.

The agency is seeking comments on:

  • How can OSHA better deliver its whistleblower services?
  • What kind of assistance can OSHA provide to help explain the agency’s whistleblower laws to employees and employers?
  • What can OSHA do to ensure that workers are protected from retaliation for raising concerns related to the pandemic?

Materials may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by mail. Written or electronic comments must be submitted by May 12, 2021. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. Comments must be identified with Docket No. OSHA-2018-0005.

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MANSTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: A traffic sign directs people towards the temporary testing centre on the site at Manston Airport on August 04, 2020 in Manston, England. A group of Britain's leading virus experts have written to the government, expressing their frustration at the mistakes being made in the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, signed by nearly 70 clinical virologists, they state that “Our skills have been underused and underrepresented (albeit to differing extents within the devolved nations of the UK), resulting in lost opportunities to establish a coordinated robust and durable testing framework for Sars-CoV-2.” (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Study Concludes Construction Industry Has Among Highest COVID-19 Positivity Rates

Posted on 22 December 2020 by cradmin

The results of a recent study administered by testing firm Curative in Los Angeles between August and October, were revealed in an article on Construction Dive. The study tracked the results of more than 730,000 COVID-19 tests and compared positive test results with an occupational questionnaire. Although the study has not been certified by peer review, it certainly presents some alarming correlations.

The author of the article quotes Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health, co-author of the study and Curative’s medical director stating, “In the construction industry, people may still be coming to work if they have symptoms because some have no paid sick leave. The findings are concerning, and warrant a better understanding of the measures put in place to control infection.”

According to the study, construction workers had a positivity rate of 5.7 percent for individuals who were asymptomatic, and 10.1 percent for those with symptoms. When compared to other industries, the positivity rate of construction workers was significantly higher. The next highest industry for asymptomatic individuals, food services, had a rate of just 3.8 percent. Only correctional workers had a higher positivity rate for symptomatic cases; 12.5 percent compared to 10.1 percent of construction workers.

Source: Curative Get the data

The Construction Dive article states that  public health departments in Washington state, Michigan and Nashville, Tenn., have found construction to be among the top three occupational settings where outbreaks occurred. Additionally, a CDC study in Utah found construction to have the second highest number of cases among all industries studied and a University of Texas study concluded that construction workers were five times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus than workers in all other industries.

“Given the rising coronavirus case counts across the country, and its particularly high rates among the demographic groups that make up much of the industry’s workforce, we are definitely seeing more workers testing positive,” said Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs at the Associated General Contractors of America. “The distinction is that the virus is not spreading occupationally — in other words, workers are not getting the virus from their jobsites — but instead is being transmitted via local communities and then workers are showing up, asymptomatic, and testing positive.”

With many of the cases being asymptomatic, companies are finding it difficult to get workers to not bring the virus to the jobsite.

To prevent the spread of the virus, more routine testing at jobsites to identify infected individuals may be an effective solution.

You may also be interested in this article: Health & Safety Watch: Workplace Safety and the Flu

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Health & Safety - Flu safety 11-20

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Health & Safety Watch: Workplace Safety and the Flu

Posted on 02 November 2020 by cradmin3

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has worked with vaccine manufacturers to have extra flu vaccine available this flu season. Manufacturers have already begun distributing flu vaccines and will continue to do so throughout the season. And while viruses can live all year round, flu activity tends to rise in October and then peak between December and February. CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination in September or October, but getting vaccinated anytime during the flu season can help protect you. 

One in 10 people in the United States will get the flu in a given season, according to estimates from the CDC. With COVID-19 a factor this year, it’s even more important to take precautions to prevent the flu from spreading.

Here are 10 ways to keep workers safe:

  1. Recommend all workers get vaccinated. Vaccination is the most important way to prevent the spread of the flu. It takes about two weeks for flu antibodies to develop, so the time to get a shot is before peak flu season.
  2. Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends (100 degrees Fahrenheit or lower) without the use of medication. Not everyone who has the flu will have a fever. Other symptoms can include a runny nose, body aches, headache, fatigue, diarrhea or vomiting.
  3. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available. When using soap and water, rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds, rinse with water, and dry completely. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub until you can wash your hands.
  4. Continue practicing social distancing. Staying at least 6 feet apart from co-workers, whenever possible, can help prevent the spread of the flu.
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper sleeve. Tissues should go into a “no-touch” wastebasket and wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Avoid touching your face.
  6. Keep frequently touched surfaces clean. Commonly used surfaces such as counters, door handles, phones, computer keyboards and touchpads should be cleaned after each use.
  7. Limit shared equipment or clean equipment before others use it. Avoid using a co-worker’s phone, desk, office, computer or other equipment unless they are cleaned with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
  8. Training is knowledge. Make sure all workers understand how to stay healthy at work during flu season, including new and temporary workers.
  9. Wear a face covering. These can help limit the flu’s spread.
  10. Consider alternate work arrangements. If feasible, offer options such as telework or staggered shifts for workers considered high risk for seasonal flu (such as older workers, pregnant women, and those with asthma).

Learn more about workplace safety and the flu on OSHA’s website. You can find additional resources and learn more about OSHA’s response to the coronavirus at osha.gov/coronavirus.

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OSHA On-Site Consultation

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OSHA Offers On-Site Consultation Program

Posted on 24 September 2020 by cradmin3

OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.

Using a no-cost consultation service largely funded by the OSHA, employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their safety and health programs, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.

The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available.

Primarily targeted for smaller businesses, this safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. In addition, no citations are issued or penalties proposed.

The consultation is completely confidential and any information provided about the workplace, plus any unsafe or unhealthful working conditions that the consultant uncovers, will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff.

The only obligation will be to correct serious job safety and health hazards — a commitment which is expected to be made prior to the actual visit and carried out in a timely manner.

Because consultation is voluntary, it must be requested (see OSHA’s Consultation Directory). The consultant will discuss your company’s specific needs and set up a visit date based on the priority assigned to the request, work schedules and the time needed for the consultant to adequately prepare.

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OSHA National Stand-Down

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7th Annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls Rescheduled

Posted on 18 August 2020 by cradmin3

The 7th Annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls had been postponed and has now been rescheduled for the week of September 14-18.

Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.

A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. Employers of companies not exposed to fall hazards, can also use this opportunity to have a conversation with employees about the other job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for employees to talk to management about fall and other job hazards they see.

Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans or discussing job specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime. See Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful “Stand-Down” and Highlights from the Past Stand-Downs. OSHA also hosts an  Events page with events that are free and open to the public to help employers and employees find events in your area.

Employers will be able to provide feedback about their Stand-Down and download a Certificate of Participation following the Stand-Down. The certificate pages will be active on September 14, 2020, for employers to enter their information and print their certificate. Share your Stand-Down story on social media with the hashtag #StandDown4Safety.

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OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work

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OSHA Issues Guidance As Non-Essential Businesses Reopen & Employees Return to Work

Posted on 22 June 2020 by cradmin3

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance to assist employers reopening non-essential businesses and their employees returning to work during the evolving coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance supplements the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ previously developed Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The guidelines provide general principles for updating restrictions originally put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. During each phase of the reopening process, employers should continue to focus on strategies for basic hygiene, social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities and employee training.

Non-essential businesses should reopen as state and local governments lift stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders and follow public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal requirements or guidelines. Employers should continue to consider ways to use workplace flexibilities, such as remote work and alternative business operations, to provide goods and services to customers.

OSHA recommends that employers continually monitor federal, state, and local government guidelines for updated information about ongoing community transmission and mitigation measures, as well as for evolving guidance on disinfection and other best practices for worker protection.

Visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage frequently for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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OSHA_COVID.5ea08746cead2

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OSHA Adopts Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

Posted on 27 May 2020 by cradmin3

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as economies reopen in states throughout the country.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees and adapt to new ways of doing business.

Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.

First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. The new enforcement guidance reflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread. The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available. OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections, and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.

Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:

Under the new policy issued today, OSHA will enforce the recordkeeping requirements of 29 CFR 1904 for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers. Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a coronavirus illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace. OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related.

Recording a coronavirus illness does not mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard. Following existing regulations, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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OSHA Releases Alert and Guidance on COVID-19

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OSHA Releases Alert and Guidance on COVID-19

Posted on 25 March 2020 by CRadmin2

By now, we are all aware of the threat of the COVID-19 virus and what it means to quarantine, and OSHA has been working diligently to give employers as much information as possible to curb the spread of infections. Many states are now under “shelter in place” orders and have shut down many types of workplaces. Even though business has most likely fallen sharply since the outbreak, many types of businesses are still allowed to operate, including those that fall under the blanket industry of construction.

If your countertop fabrication business is still operating, it is important to follow the new OSHA guidelines to help reduce the rate of transmission. This is not only good for society as a whole but also for your specific workplace. Even one case of coronavirus infection among your employees is reason enough to shut down operations for the time being.

COVID-19 spreads primarily to others through water droplets originating from the nose or mouth during a sneeze or cough. However, you do not have to be in direct contact with the droplets to get infected. The virus can survive for several days on hard surfaces, and it is enough to touch one of these surfaces and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose for the virus to transfer.

According to OSHA, the spread of coronavirus can be mitigated in the workplace by following a few specific guidelines. All employers still operating should follow all of these practices:

  • Assess the hazards of viral exposure.
  • Evaluate the likelihood of exposure.
  • Implement controls to lessen the risk of exposure, including the use of physical barriers, PPE, social distancing, personal hygiene and frequent cleaning.

In addition to the above, OSHA recommends following general practices to help control exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content when soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, mouth or nose without first thoroughly washing your hands.
  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet from other co-workers, vendors and customers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control believes that by implementing a routine that includes all of the above tips, we can beat this virus and get it under control, but it remains to be seen how soon we will be able to go back to “normal.” COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in several ways, and some of the precautions we must take now may have to continue for the greater part of the year.

Whether or not you believe this pandemic is as bad as they say it is, OSHA is on duty and working overtime to ensure businesses that remain open are in compliance of all safety and health measures introduced by federal, state and local governments. Our contact inside Oregon OSHA has revealed that they are receiving up to 10 complaints every hour about unsafe work practices, and the administration is taking all of these complaints seriously.

Due to the situation and volume, some complaints may be handled over the phone with stern warnings, but for the most part, OSHA is operating as usual while taking heightened precautions. The health and safety teams at OSHA are gearing up for a swath of onsite visits to ensure employers are not endangering their workers. If you have not implemented full health-protection measures, their next visit could be you. All it takes is one complaint by phone or completed Web form to get a surprise inspection.

For more information on how you can protect yourselves and your workforce while remaining open for business, please see the OSHA publication Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and visit the OSHA Webpage on COVID-19.

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