Maximum OSHA Fines Increased in 2019! Are you Safe?
The Maximum OSHA Penalty is Increasing Again in 2019 Until four years ago, OSHA had not raised their penalty amounts since 1990. Now, with the Inflation Adjustment Act, OSHA is required to annually adjust penalty amounts by January 15th. Fines increased by approximately 80% on August 1, 2016 and are adjusted annually moving forward. This year the penalty increase adjusted on January 23, 2019 due to the government shut downs. The Best Way to Avoid OSHA Fines is a Proactive Workplace! Be proactive when it comes to your company’s safety and health program.
CALIFORNIA’S NEW EMERGENCY REGULATION
REQUIRING ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION OF 300A LOGSOctober 29th, 2018
In a notice dated October 18, 2018, Cal/OSHA notified the public of its intent to adopt an emergency regulation requiring California’s employers to electronically submit their Cal/OSHA 300A annual summaries to a website maintained by the Federal Secretary of Labor. The stated purpose of the emergency regulation is to conform Cal/OSHA recordkeeping regulation to Fed/OSHA’s parallel regulation.
WHO IS REQUIRED TO ELECTRONICALLY SUBMIT 300A FORMS?
Employers who were previously exempt from completing Cal/OSHA 300 Logs under Title 8, CCR § 14300.2 (when their North American Industry Classification System [“NAICS”] Code referenced is in Table 1 of Appendix A), are still exempt.
Employers with 250 or more employees at any time during the calendar year (who are not exempt) are covered by the emergency regulation.
Employers with 20 through 249 employees at any time during the calendar year (who are not exempt) are covered by the emergency regulation if their NAICS Code appears in the newly-adopted Appendix H. Most employers are covered, including those in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, utilities, forestry, grocery stores, specialty food stores, waste treatment and disposal, urban transit systems, etc. (this is not a comprehensive list of the covered NAICS Codes)
Any employer (even those who are otherwise exempt) may be required to electronically submit 300A forms upon a specific request by a representative of OSHA.
WHEN MUST 300A FORMS BE SUBMITTED?
Cal/OSHA 300A forms for the 2017 calendar year must be electronically submitted by no later than December 31, 2018.
Cal/OSHA 300A forms for the 2018 calendar year must be electronically submitted by no later than March 2, 2019 (future submissions will be due on March 2 of each subsequent year following the year addressed by the 300A form).
ON WHAT WEBSITE MUST THE 300A FORMS BE ELECTRONICALLY SUBMITTED?
Stand-by for more details. The emergency regulation states: “OSHA will provide a secure Web site for the electronic submission of information.” The regulation, however, does not provide any web address. The following address seems to be up and running on the Federal Department of Labor’s website: https://www.osha.gov/
injuryreporting/ita/. If necessary, this address will be updated when more information becomes available
Safety Summit Held to Reduce Trenching Fatalities
October 17, 2018
Every year, more than 50 workers die in trench-related incidents and thousands more are injured. OSHA and the North American Excavation Shoring Association recently hosted the Colorado Trench Safety Summit to raise awareness of hazards and best practices. More than 500 attendees participated in training and demonstrations, including a mock trench rescue by local first responders. OSHA also shared compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from trenching hazards.
New Proposition 65 Warning Signs
August 27, 2018
What is Proposition 65?
In 1986, California voters approved Proposition 65, an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative is officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The law requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and for businesses with 10 or more employees to provide warnings when they knowingly and intentionally cause significant exposures to listed chemicals.
This list currently includes more than 850 chemicals. Proposition 65 does not ban or restrict the sale of chemicals on the list. The warnings are intended to help Californians make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals from the products they use and the places they go.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) administers the Proposition 65 program.
What Are the Most Significant Changes to the Proposition 65 Warnings For Consumer Products?
Since the original warning requirements took effect in 1988, most Proposition 65 warnings simply state that a chemical is present that causes cancer or reproductive harm, but they do not identify the chemical or provide specific information about how a person may be exposed or ways to reduce or eliminate exposure to it.
New OEHHA regulations, adopted in August 2016 and that will take full effect in August 2018, change the safe harbor warnings which are deemed to comply with the law in several important ways. For example, the new warnings for consumer products will say the product “can expose you to” a Proposition 65 chemical rather than saying the product “contains” the chemical. They will also include:
- The name of at least one listed chemical that prompted the warning
- The Internet address for OEHHA’s new Proposition 65 warnings website, www.P65Warnings.ca.gov, which includes additional information on the health effects of listed chemicals and ways to reduce or eliminate exposure to them
- A triangular yellow warning symbol on most warnings
Personal Protective Equipment
August 22, 2018
What is personal protective equipment?
Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.
What can be done to ensure the proper use of personal protective equipment?
All personal protective equipment should be safely designed and constructed and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. It should fit comfortably, encouraging worker use. If the personal protective equipment does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed. When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment to their workers and ensure its proper use. Employers are also required to train each worker required to use personal protective equipment to know:
- When it is necessary
- What kind is necessary
- How to properly put it on, adjust, wear and take it off
- The limitations of the equipment
- Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the equipment
If PPE is to be used, a PPE program should be implemented. This program should address the hazards present; the selection, maintenance, and use of PPE; the training of employees; and monitoring of the program to ensure its ongoing effectiveness.
March 27, 2018
When you’ve got a job to do in places that are hard to reach, nothing is more useful than a scaffold. However, it also implies that your work will unfold at greater heights than other jobs, which means that specifically targeted safety procedures are necessary.
Safety Procedures are necessary when working on scaffolding for those hard to reach areas. You much take proper precautions.
HOW TO STAY SAFE
Here are the most common hazards associated with scaffolds include:
- Collapse scaffolding
- Being struck by falling tools, work materials, or debris,
- Electrocution due to proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines.
Here are 3 steps to stay safe.
- WEAR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
- ASSEMBLE AND DISMANTLE PROPERLY
- INSPECT THE STRUCTURE PERIODICALLY AND BEFORE EACH WORK SHIFT
OSHA requires for scaffolds and scaffolds components to be inspected for visible defects by a competent person before each work shift. Each inspection needs to be followed by a detailed report of any risks or defects, as well as the corrective measures that were taken to correct the hazards. This will come particularly in handy when identifying recurring problems of any kind and promptly finding an effective and functional fix for them.
stay Safe with these tips
- Assemble and dissemble scaffolding properly
- Wear the needed PPE
- Inspect scaffolding before each use
- Keep detailed inspection reports
- Call in professionals for help!
OSHA Penalties Set To Skyrocket: Are You In Compliance?
April 4, 2018
Effective August 1, the Department of Labor issued a new rule implementing significantly higher penalties upon employers for Occupational Safety and Health Act violations. The new penalty rates will be effective for any violations which occurred after November 2, 2015.
For Example, a willful or repeated violation citation jumps from a $70,000 maximum fine to $124,709. The odd numbers come from the fact that the changes are implemented pursuant to the Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, which required the DOL and other federal agencies to increase their penalties based on inflation since the penalties were last upped. Subsequently, the Inflation Adjustment Act requires annual adjustments for inflation based on the consumer price index So, be sure to check that all of your workplace posters, your safety manuals, and training logs are current. OSHA will fine you for inadequate postings for such laws as Title VII, FMLA, Wage & Hour, Workers’ Compensation, etc.
Although this change does not later an employer’s obligation to comply with OSHA Health Act, it does raise the stakes for those who fail to comply. Even employers with spotless safety records could now face fines in the six figures for first offense with OSHA.
All employers should consider seeking out consultants like Safety Compliance Institute to provide workplace safety evaluations by trained consultants, who can identify safety hazards, which if corrected can control workplace injuries. This may allow the employer to be removed from OSHA’s programed inspection list
At a time of our government deficit, any extra money they can squeeze out of your company they will try. Don’t let them win. Make sure you are in compliance.
Scissor lifts! And no I’m not talking about the ab-busting exercise at the gym that wouldn’t hurt for me to do to counteract the beer I drink on the weekends. I’m talking about the elevated work platform that received it’s name “scissor lift” due to the cross design of the steel beams used to increase heights of worker’s who need to complete job tasks that are like, high up.
If it’s a more technical term you’re looking for, OSHA defines a scissor lift as “mobile supported scaffold work platforms used to safely move workers vertically and to different locations in a variety of industries including construction, retail, entertainment and manufacturing. Scissor lifts are different from aerial lifts because the lifting mechanism moves the work platform straight up and down using crossed beams functioning in a scissor-like fashion.”
Being that scissor lifts are heavy pieces of industrial equipment that place workers at heights that could be potentially dangerous, it’s important that worker’s are fully prepared to be lifted up toward God without having to meet Him face to face. Here’s how to safely work on the elevated platforms, scissor lifts.
1. Employers, do your part.
The first thing that must be done before employees even lay their eyes on a scissor lift, is having employers ensure that the rope descent system and the anchorage complies 1910.27(b)(1)(i) which also involves the owner of the building itself. Both the employer and the building owner are required to ensure (in writing) that “the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (268 kg), in any direction, for each employee attached.” Once that is received, the employer can then take the next steps in rope descent, to comply with 1910.27(b)(2).
2. Fall Protection, DUH!
If you send your workers to work at heights without providing adequate fall protection training and equipment, you’re probably a jerk. Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in construction, hence why it’s listed as number one in Construction’s “Fatal Four”, or the four most common causes of death in construction. Don’t be a jerk, comply with 1910.29(a) and ensure that your employees are properly equipped with the knowledge, training, and equipment that’s necessary to keep them safe. The rest is up to them, which leads up to our next point.
3. Employee Responsibility
Once an employee is trained on how to safely work on an elevated work platform per OSHA standard 1926.454, it becomes the employee’s responsibility to hold their safety in their own regards. Employers can help do this by creating a safety culture that encourages safe behavior and punishes unsafe behavior (if an injury doesn’t punish them first).
Additional Scissor List Safety Tips:
- Identify all hazards prior to scissor lift use.
- Inspect the scissor lift for full functionality and proper operation.
- Never use a faulty scissor lift.
- Only allow trained employees on a scissor lift.
- Provide adequate fall protection equipment and PPE (covered this already, but doing it again. Don’t be a jerk.)
- Use scissor lifts according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Properly maintain the equipment.
Interested in learning more? Try this free OSHA eTool. (which, incidentally, is where I got most of my information.)
We also have some free Scissor Lift safety training materials for ya, here you go!
As always, stay safe!! Off to the gym I go! (but maybe a beer first).
Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness
April 13, 2018
Fresno—Temperatures at outdoor worksites across California continue to elevate as the weather warms up. Cal/OSHA today participated in a news conference, reminding employers to plan for and prevent heat illness in order to protect outdoor workers from heat-related illness and death.
An essential component of Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention model includes annual trainings statewide in both English and Spanish. Today, Nisei Farmers League and nine other agricultural employers co-sponsored training sessions in Easton in both languages. This co-sponsored training has been held every year since 2008 to highlight the need to protect outdoor workers from heat illness and the requirements under California’s heat illness prevention standard.
“It is never too early for employers with outdoor workers to review their heat illness prevention procedures and ensure their training is effective,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Cal/OSHA continues its outreach and training efforts, as well as enforcement at outdoor worksites, to ensure compliance with the standard.”
Heat illness is a serious hazard for people who work outdoors. Cal/OSHA’s prevention approach includes targeted enforcement inspections at outdoor worksites in industries such as agriculture, landscaping and construction during the heat season. These inspections ensure compliance with the heat illness prevention standard and the injury and illness prevention standard, which require employers to take the following basic precautions:
1. Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
2. Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour, or four 8-ounce glasses of water per hour, and encourage them to do so.
3. Provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool‐down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down. Shade structures must be in place upon request or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Closely observe all employees during a heat wave and any employee newly assigned to a high heat area. Lighter work, frequent breaks or shorter hours will help employees who have not been working in high temperatures adapt to the new conditions.
5. Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA heat illness prevention standard, including plans on how to handle medical emergencies and steps to take if someone shows signs or symptoms of heat illness.
The most frequent heat-related violation that Cal/OSHA cites during enforcement inspections is for failure to have an effective written heat illness prevention plan specific to the worksite. Serious heat-related violations are often related to inadequate access to water and shade, and to a lack of supervisor and employee training.
To remain in compliance with the standard, Cal/OSHA encourages employers and supervisors to learn more about the standard, which was amended in 2015. Please refer to the Cal/OSHA guidance on the new requirements and the Heat Illness Prevention Enforcement Q&A for more information on the updates.
Additional information about heat illness prevention, including details on upcoming training sessions throughout the state are posted on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention page. Cal/OSHA also has extensive multilingual materials for employers, workers and trainers on its Water. Rest. Shade. public awareness campaign website.
JULY 1, 2018 DEADLINE: Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records to OSHA
June 1st, 2018
All manufacturers with 11 or more employees, including part-time and seasonal employees, must electronically submit information from their 2017 OSHA Form 300A by July 1, 2018. OSHA is not accepting Form 300 and 301 information at this time. Beginning in 2019, you must submit your injury and illness information by March 2..
Please follow this link and instruction to get started
General Industry and Maritime Silica Standard Effective June 23
June 5th, 2018
General industry and maritime employers must comply with OSHA’s silica standard by June 23, except for phase-in dates for medical surveillance and for engineering controls in the oil and gas industry. Visit the silica webpage for guidance on complying with the standard, as well as information on silica sampling and analysis, health effects of silica exposure, and answers to frequently asked questions.