Risk Management & Safety News - May 2017
National Safety Stand-down May 8-12
On May 8-12, OSHA will hold its fourth annual National Safety Stand-down to prevent falls in construction. This is an opportunity for employers to discuss company safety policies and goals with employees and to raise awareness of fall hazards in the construction industry.
Falls from heights account for one-third of work-related deaths in construction and are the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in the industry. All employers, large and small, are encouraged to participate in the stand-down. The following are some tips for getting started:
- Consider asking subcontractors, architects, engineers or other groups to join the stand-down.
- Identify fall risks at your site, and determine opportunities for improvement.
- Develop activities that are relevant to your workplace, and consider including hands-on exercises that increase employee engagement.
- Follow up after the stand-down to address any hazards you identified and make any necessary improvements to your safety program.
Contact Clark-Mortenson Insurance for additional resources you can use to conduct a successful safety stand-down for your employees.
Contractor Fined Almost $1.5 Million
OSHA has cited a Massachusetts contractor with 18 safety violations and a fine of $1,475,813 in relation to a trench incident that killed two workers. According to OSHA investigators, the workers were killed when the 12-foot-deep trench in which they were working collapsed, breaking an adjacent fire hydrant supply line and filling the trench with water within seconds. The contractor was cited for failing to provide basic trench safeguards and failing to train employees to recognize hazardous conditions.
According to OSHA, two workers are killed every month in trench collapses, and the amount of trench fatalities doubled between 2015 and 2016.
Silica Standard Delayed for Construction
On April 6, OSHA announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard for the construction industry. Although enforcement of the standard was scheduled to begin on June 23, 2017, it will now begin on Sept. 23, 2017, as additional guidance is necessary.
OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps to either comply with the new permissible exposure limit or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard.
Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the other requirements of the standard, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.