Safety News - Spring 2020

Injury reporting

Employers are reminded that they must post their 2019 Summary of work-related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A). Feb. 1, 2020, is the deadline for employers to post 300-A Summary forms listing 2019 injuries and illnesses. All employers who keep Part 1904 OSHA workplace injury and illness records need to review the 2019 OSHA 300 Log to ensure accuracy, correct any deficiencies, and then create their 300-A Annual Summary. The 300-A Summary must be posted in an area where you normally place notices to employees by Feb. 1, 2020. It must remain visible in that location until at least April 30, 2020. A company executive, such as the owner or a corporation's highest-ranking official, must certify the summary is completely accurate. Employers with ten or fewer employees or those whose NAICS code is for low-hazard industries exempted from OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping are exceptions to the posting requirement.

OSHA revises NEP on amputations in manufacturing

Effective Dec. 10, 2019, OSHA has updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on amputations in manufacturing industries to "identify and reduce or eliminate" amputation-related hazards. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,920 amputation injuries occurred among U.S. private-sector employees in 2018.

The updated NEP:
  • Revises coding requirements for agency amputation inspections in the OSHA Information System database.
  • Revises targeting methodology to include data from the amputation reporting requirement, as mandated under the agency’s incident reporting standard.
  • Removes two appendices from the previous NEP, which expired at the end of this past fiscal year, and adds appendices on amputations targeting methodology and covered North American Industry Classification System codes.

"Operating machinery or equipment can be extremely dangerous when it is not properly guarded or maintained," OSHA states. "Injuries involving machinery or equipment often result in death or permanent disability. OSHA's enforcement history shows that employees performing servicing and maintenance on machinery or equipment are often injured when no machine guarding is present. OSHA workplace requirements prescribe measures for the safe operation, servicing, and/or maintenance of machinery and equipment."

BLS: On-the-job deaths at highest level since 2007

A total of 5,250 workers died as a result of on-the-job injuries in 2018 – a 2% increase from 2017 and the highest number of fatalities since 5,657 were recorded in 2007, according to Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data released Dec. 17 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data also shows that the overall rate of fatal workplace injuries remained unchanged from 2017, steadying at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, after falling from 3.6 in 2016. Other highlights:

  • Transportation-related fatalities – which rose slightly to 2,080 from 2,077 in 2017 – accounted for 40% of all fatal work-related injuries.
  • The 615 deaths among African American workers are the most since 1999, while the 961 deaths among Hispanic or Latino workers marks a 6.4% increase from 2017.
  • Fatalities involving independent workers rose slightly to 621 from 613 the year before and accounted for 11.8% of all fatal work-related injuries.
  • Deaths resulting from contact with objects and equipment increased 13.1% to 786. This figure includes a notable increase in incidents involving caught-in hazards (39.5%) and struck-by falling objects (17.3%).
  • Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers experienced 966 fatal injuries, the most of any occupation and a 15% increase from 2017. Industries with the highest recorded rate of fatal injuries were logging (97.6 per 100,000 FTE) and fishing (77.4).
  • Deaths related to unintentional overdoses from nonmedical drug or alcohol use while at work climbed 12.1% to 305, marking the sixth straight year fatal injuries in this category have increased.

"OSHA will continue to use BLS for enforcement targeting within its jurisdiction to help prevent tragedies," acting OSHA administrator Loren Sweatt said in a Dec. 17, 2019 statement. "Inspections for OSHA were up, and we will work with State Plans so employers and workers can find compliance assistance tools in many forms or call the agency to report unsafe working conditions. Any fatality is one too many."

OSHA increases monetary penalties for 2020

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adjusted its civil monetary penalties to reflect inflation in 2020. Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvement Act of 2015, federal agencies were required to institute upfront "catch up" amounts to bring civil monetary penalties up to present day adjustments. At the time, many penalties remained at levels set in 1990. Going forward, the new law also requires agencies to tie the penalty amounts to inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

Effective Jan. 15, OSHA's maximum civil monetary penalty increases for 2020 are as follows:
  • Other-than-serious: $13,494
  • Serious: $13,494
  • Repeat: $134,937
  • Willful: $134,937

Sleep-deprived? Use caution in everything you do.

A new study from Michigan State University's Sleep and Learning Lab shows the impact of not getting enough sleep is even larger than previously thought.

"Our research showed that sleep deprivation doubles the odds of making placekeeping errors and triples the number of lapses in attention, which is startling," said Kimberly Fenn, professor of psychology and director of the Sleep and Learning Lab. "Sleep-deprived individuals need to exercise caution in absolutely everything that they do, and simply can't trust that they won't make costly errors. Oftentimes - like when behind the wheel of a car - these errors can have tragic consequences."

By sharing their findings on the separate effects sleep deprivation has on cognitive function, Fenn - and co-authors Michelle Stepan, MSU doctoral candidate and Erik Altmann, professor of psychology - hope that people will acknowledge how significantly their abilities are hindered because of a lack of sleep.

"Our findings debunk a common theory that suggests that attention is the only cognitive function affected by sleep deprivation,"; Stepan said. "Some sleep-deprived people might be able to hold it together under routine tasks, like a doctor taking a patient's vitals. But our results suggest that completing an activity that requires following multiple steps, such as a doctor completing a medical procedure, is much riskier under conditions of sleep deprivation."

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