Vol. 11, Issue 2 - Fall 2018
Even if your workers don’t drive as part of their job responsibilities, they still probably spend a lot of time on the road whether commuting or running their kids around to activities or picking up groceries and doing other errands. And since motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of death in the United States, you have a vested interest in making sure your workers understand the risks of highway driving.
Why it matters:
Remind your workers of basic safe driving rules of the road. While these tips may seem obvious, refresher training on driving skills is always timely since many American workers spend so much time driving.
Warn your workers to be careful of distracted driving. Highway safety experts say that drivers make 200 decisions during every mile they drive. If drivers’ full attention is not on their driving, the risk of having an accident increases. In fact, experts say that distracted driving is a factor in more than 4,000 vehicle accidents a day. Not surprisingly, cell phone use while driving is a major cause of distracted driving. Even a hands-free conversation can distract you from focusing full attention on the road. Texting while driving is also extremely distracting—and extremely dangerous.
Finally, remind employees that driving at night is almost twice as dangerous as driving during the day. And driving in bad weather also requires taking extra precautions.
Advise them to follow these driving instructions:
Restaurants—with their open flames, hot equipment, electrical connections, cooking oils, cleaning chemicals and paper products—have all the ingredients for a fire to flame out of control. Nearly 8,000 eating and drinking establishments report a fire each year, according to data tabulated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in Quincy, Mass. These fires cause an annual average of $246 million in direct property damage.
A fire can devastate your business, leading to lost revenues and even permanent closure. But there are steps you can take to prevent fires and minimize the damage.
Train your staff to:
Be prepared and have an emergency plan
If a fire breaks out in your restaurant, your staff must take control of the situation and lead customers to safety.
Source: National Restaurant Association and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
According to the Institute for Business & Home Safety, approximately 25% of businesses never reopen following a major disaster. Developing a disaster recovery plan for your small business can help you to mitigate potential losses and prepare for manmade or natural disasters.
Your plan should cover general disaster recovery, as well as addressing risks specific to the business location, size, and operations. At a minimum, the plan should include the following sections:
After a disaster recovery plan has been developed, all employees should receive training on how to implement the procedures. The more familiar they are with the information, the more likely they are to execute the plan successfully and remain mindful of workplace safety.
For additional resources regarding disaster recovery, visit OSHA's Emergency Preparedness page.
August 2018 - National Immunization Awareness Month
September 2018 - National Preparedness Month
November 2018 - American Diabetes Month
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:
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.
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.
A concrete contractor was returning back to the workshop from a job-site when his work vehicle was struck by a semi-truck. The young worker thought the semi driver had signaled his intention to turn while stopped to cross the intersection, so he proceeded to cross the highway, resulting in a T-bone type collision. The worker had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. Fortunately, the injuries he suffered were relatively minor; including stitches in his hand, elbow, and face. He was able to be discharged the same day and missed just one day of work. However, vehicle costs were substantial with over $100,000 in damage to the semi-truck and several thousand dollars in damage to his work vehicle.
Employers have a large part in safe roadways for everyone. Millions of people drive as part of their job duties. While some of these employees are professionally trained, many are not trained at all. Typically, if driving is only a small part of the job requirement, the employee does not receive the same safety commitment as others who spend hours per day driving. It is essential for employers to manage this risk just as they do with other workplace hazards. Half of crash-related injuries cause employees to miss work. The employer costs for these injuries is significant; including a decrease in employee health and productivity, and an increase in lost time from work and insurance costs.
Employers can offer defensive driving courses, implement a corporate cell phone policy to eliminate cell phone use while driving and require employees to wear seat belts.
Source: National Safety Council
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