Safety news - Fall 2018

By: Kim Coonrod, Director, Loss Control

OSHA outlines enforcement of silica standard for general industry and maritime
OSHA issued a memorandum outlining initial enforcement of the standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry and maritime. Most provisions of the standard became enforceable June 23. The standard establishes a new 8-hour, time-weighted average permissible exposure limit and action level. During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA offered compliance assistance for employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. OSHA plans to issue interim enforcement guidance until a compliance directive on the new standard is finalized. For more information, read the news release.

New OSHA fact sheet addresses silica rule for general industry, maritime
Washington — OSHA has published a fact sheet intended to help employers comply with the agency’s standard on worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica (1926.1153) for general industry and maritime.  The fact sheet highlights steps employers are required to take to protect employees, including assessing workplace exposures, establishing written exposure control plans and providing worker training. The final rule lowers the permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica for all industries to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged during an 8-hour shift.

New webpage provides safety information on workplace chemicals
OSHA’s new Occupational Chemical Database compiles information from several government agencies and organizations into one online resource. The webpage includes chemical identification and physical properties, permissible exposure limits (PELs), and sampling information. Chemicals can be searched by name or identification number, or grouped by PEL, carcinogenic level, or whether they pose an immediate threat when inhaled.

Falls remain among deadliest hazards for workers: study
Morgantown, WV — Falls are the second-leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, representing 14 percent of all worker fatalities over an 11-year period, according to a recent study from NIOSH. Researchers identified fatal falls in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and gauged rates across different occupations and groups of workers by using population estimates from the Current Population Survey.

From 2003 to 2014, 8,880 workers died from falls for an annual rate of 5.5 per 1 million full-time equivalent workers. Jobs with the highest fatal fall rates were construction and extraction (42.2) and installation, maintenance and repair (12.5). Falls to a lower level resulted in 7,521 deaths (84.7 percent) compared to 1,128 (12.7 percent) from falls on the same level and 231 (2.6 percent) from “all other types of falls.” Fall rates were higher among men and Hispanic and older workers. Nearly half – 45 percent – of fatal falls to a lower level occurred among workers in organizations with 10 or fewer employees.

The researchers cite guidelines for employers from the National Fall Prevention Campaign – a collaboration of NIOSH, OSHA, and the Center for Construction Research and Training (also known as CPWR). The guidelines:

  • Plan ahead to reduce or remove fall hazards, if possible
  • Provide appropriate equipment when employees are working at heights of 6 feet or more
  • Educate workers on fall hazards and the proper use of safety equipment

Safety training falls short for immigrant workers at small construction companies: study
Washington — Immigrant construction workers employed by small companies do not receive the same amount of safety and health training as their counterparts at larger companies, according to a recent study from NIOSH and the American Society of Safety Professionals.

Researchers analyzed survey responses from 268 construction business representatives. They found that non-native workers in companies with fewer than 50 employees received less training than those in companies with 50 or more employees – both when joining the organization and at ongoing, monthly intervals. Training encompassed multiple categories, including pre-job instruction, federal and state requirements, and OSHA 10-hour training for construction. The researchers also found that immigrant workers in small companies were less likely to fulfill each type of safety training.

Other findings:

  • Only 5.9 percent of immigrant workers at small companies received 11 or more hours of initial safety training – 38.2 percent received three to 10 hours and 55.9 percent received two hours or less. For larger companies, those figures were 20 percent, 48.5 percent and 31.5 percent, respectively.
  • 61.8 percent of immigrant workers at small companies received two or less hours of monthly training, compared with 42.9 percent at larger companies.
  • Supervisors spoke the same language as immigrant workers at 37.5 percent of small companies, compared with 68.9 percent of larger companies.

Overcoming language barriers improves safety, the researchers said. They recommend increasing awareness and training “to provide employers with the appropriate resources to reduce these risks.” Possible focus areas include effective communication through conversation and dissemination of occupational safety and health training materials.


Source: Safety and Health Magazine - Training falls short for immigrant workers at small construction companies
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 or your attorney if you have any questions.