Safety news - Spring 2019

By: Kim Coonrod, Director, Loss Control

Employers must post 2018 injury/illness summary beginning Feb. 1
Employers are reminded of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2018. Each year, from Feb. 1 to April 30, the summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements. Visit OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule webpage for more information on record keeping requirements.


OSHA penalties adjusting in 2019
OSHA's civil penalties amounts for violations of workplace safety and health standards will increase in 2019 to adjust for inflation. The adjusted maximum penalty amounts will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register. New penalties for willful and repeat violations will be $132,598 per violation; serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements are $13,260 per violation; and failure to abate violations are $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date.


OSHA’s top 10 most cited violations - Fiscal year 2018

  1. Fall protection – general requirements (1926.501)
  2. Hazard communication (1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  4. Respiratory protection (1910.134)
  5. Lockout/tagout (1910.147)
  6. Ladders (1926.1053)
  7. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178)
  8. Fall protection – training requirements (1926.503)
  9. Machine guarding (1910.212)
  10. Personal protective and lifesaving equipment – eye and face protection (1926.102)


New pamphlet on snow removal addresses worker safety

OSHA has a new resource to help employers and workers involved in snow removal operations take precautions and focus on safety. Prior to beginning work, employers should check for worksite hazards, limit roof access for snow removal, train workers on the signs of cold stress, and ensure that powered equipment is used according to the manufacturers' instructions.


Agricultural safety resources available
OSHA has a new rollover protection brochure that provides information in English and Spanish on the safe operation of tractors. It emphasizes the importance of using rollover protective structures and seat belt systems to help reduce worker injuries.


Online database provides information on workplace injury trends
The National Safety Council posted an online version of the Injury Facts reference book for safety statistics. The free resource features a section on workplace safety that includes work-related injury and fatality trends, and how to benchmark an organization's injury and illness incidence rates with national averages. The information is organized into safety topics, such as falls, work-related fatigue, and forklifts.


OSHA has authorized use of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) in inspections

In early 2018, OSHA issued a memo formalizing its use of drones for inspection activities. The memo indicates that OSHA can use drones for a number of purposes, including inspection of inaccessible or unsafe areas, for technical assistance in emergencies, and during compliance assistance activities. The memo sets forth the parameters OSHA must follow when using drones, but it also indicates that OSHA is exploring the option of obtaining a Blanket Public Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA to operate drones nationwide.


The memo states that OSHA must obtain express consent from an employer prior to using a drone on any inspection. In addition, on-site personnel must be notified of the inspection to ensure cooperation and safety. The flight report and any data collected by the drone becomes a part of the inspection case file.


OSHA’s use of drones has the potential to expand its violation-finding capabilities during any inspection. Drones allow OSHA the opportunity to expand the areas that can be easily viewed by an inspector. While most inspections can and should be limited in scope, OSHA can cite employers for violations that are in plain sight.


If employers allow OSHA to use drones during an inspection, the employer may wish to be involved in the development of the flight plan and attempt to get copies of any collected data.


NIOSH releases resources on dampness and mold assessment


Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Washington — NIOSH recently introduced checklists to help employers assess damp areas and identify mold. The Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool has two versions – one for general buildings and one for schools – as well as a four-step assessment cycle.


The resources include checklists and instructions to guide users through assessing rooms for dampness and mold and then identifying the sources.


Dampness can result from water incursion that occurs from both interior and exterior sources, such as leaky roofs or windows, flooding, or high indoor humidity. These areas may promote the growth of mold, bacteria, fungi, and insects, which can lead to the development or worsening of respiratory symptoms and infections, asthma, hay fever, bronchitis, eczema, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, according to NIOSH.


The tools “provide an inexpensive mechanism to investigate, record and compare conditions over time,” David Weissman, director of the Respiratory Health Division at NIOSH, said in a Nov. 11 press release. “Implementing regular visual inspections for dampness can help to identify trouble areas before they become major problems and help to prioritize maintenance and repair.”


NIOSH encourages employees who suspect health issues are being caused by exposure to building-related dampness or mold to report new, persistent or worsening symptoms to their physician and employer.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us at or your attorney if you have any questions. The article may not be linked to, copied, reproduced, republished, posted, or distributed in any way by non-policyholders of Markel®, without permission.