OSHA Quick Takes – August 15, 2012

In this issue

Reach young workers with important health and safety information: Take the Worker Safety & Health App Challenge before the September 16 deadline!

Hurry – there’s only one month left to submit entries for the Worker Safety & Health App Challenge at www.challenge.gov. Your challenge is to use publicly available government information (i.e., DOL/OSHA data, NIOSH data, and other online government resources) to educate young workers on the safety and health risks in real work scenarios.

Question: What makes a good safety and health app? Answer: Successful apps could take many different forms: interactive and informative games, social or professional networking sites, or data visualization tools that teach young people about safety and health hazards and their rights in the workplace. Submissions may be designed for Internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones, social media platforms, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.

For more information about the cash prizes (up to $30,000!) and the competition guidelines, watch a short video, read Dr. Michaels’ blog, and visit the challenge page.

OSHA to co-sponsor stakeholder meeting on safety and health approaches in the oil and gas industry on September 20

OSHA, along with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), United States Coast Guard (USCG), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) invite public participation in an upcoming stakeholder meeting on the use and implementation of performance-based regulatory models for enhanced safety and environmental performance in the United States oil and gas industry.

Speakers at the September 20-21 meeting in Texas City, Texas, will address the current regulatory landscape and discuss the challenges and benefits of non-prescriptive, outcome-based approaches to reduce the frequency and severity of harmful events. Public attendees will have the opportunity to make comments at the meeting, and all members of the public may submit comments in writing. Those interested in attending must register by September 5. The meeting will also be webcast live for online viewing. For more information, visit the registration Web site. The meeting will be announced in an upcoming Federal Register.

Register now: August 16 free fall prevention webinar explains why ‘Safety pays, falls cost’

Fall Prevention poster

On August 16, from 2-3:00 p.m. EDT, OSHA’s Director of Construction, Jim Maddux, and NIOSH’s Director of Construction Safety and Health, Dr. Christine Branche, will co-moderate a webinar to discuss how to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry, hosted by OH&S magazine. To register for the free webinar, and to learn more about efforts by OSHA, NIOSH, The Center for Construction Research and Training, and the NORA Construction Sector Council to protect construction workers from fatal falls, visit the registration page.

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities out of 774 total fatalities in construction. These deaths are preventable. Help support OSHA’s Fall Prevention campaign by reaching out to workers and employers in your community with the resources available at www.osha.gov/stopfalls, including stickers, wallet cards, fact sheets, and posters. To order these or any of OSHA’s outreach materials, call OSHA’s Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page.

Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH); request for nominations

OSHA announced August 2 that nominations are being accepted for members to serve on the upcoming Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH). MACOSH functions as an advisory body and reports to the Secretary of Labor through OSHA on matters relating to occupational safety and health programs, enforcement, new initiatives and standards for maritime industries, including longshoring, marine terminals, and shipyard employment.

Member nominations will be accepted until September 17, 2012, for those interested in serving two-year terms representing employers, employees, safety and health professional organizations and government organizations. Individuals may submit nominations by mail, facsimile or electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. See the Federal Register notice for details.

Heat Ap

After the hottest month in US history, stay safe with Heat Safety Tool mobile app, other heat illness prevention materials

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reported that July was the hottest month in the United States since modern record-keeping began in 1895. Join the more than 49,000 others who have downloaded OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool mobile app, available in English or Spanish, which provides vital safety information in these extreme temperatures — right on your mobile phone.

Throughout the country, OSHA is on hand to provide expert guidance to workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. For example, in recent weeks in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas, OSHA compliance officers have operated three phone banks in Spanish on local Univision stations, taking questions from the public and providing information on the campaign.

To order any of OSHA’s heat illness prevention materials in English or Spanish, call OSHA’s Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page.

Magnolia Torres of OSHA’s Philadelphia office discusses OSHA’s heat illness and fall prevention campaigns on Telemundo.

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. ordered by US Labor Department to pay more than $300,000 for violating Federal Railroad Safety Act

OSHA found that Norfolk Southern Railway Co. violated the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. An investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed that the railroad terminated an employee in retaliation for reporting a workplace injury. OSHA ordered the company to pay the employee more than $300,000 in damages. For more information, read the press release.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

OSHA cites metal forgings plant in Chicago for 26 safety violations, including failing to maintain cranes

OSHA cited specialty metal forgings producer A. Finkl & Sons Co. with 26 safety violations including two willful violations that involve failing to provide fall protection around open pits and rectify multiple hazards found in crane inspections. Proposed penalties total $352,700. Read the news release for more details.

Attendees at the Las Vegas forum peruse OSHA publications on Preventing Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers (PDF*) and the Dangers of Formaldehyde in Hair Smoothing Products.

Protecting women workers: Assistant Secretary reports on OSHA’s progress at Women’s Bureau roundtable

On August 9, Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, joined Secretary Solis in Las Vegas, Nev., for a special forum entitled “Working for Women: Your Job, Your Rights,” on the challenges facing women workers today. Together with the Secretary, Dr. Michaels talked about what the Department of Labor is doing to get women back to work and to protect their rights on the job. In particular, Dr. Michaels discussed OSHA’s work to protect women workers throughout the nation—highlighting the agency’s robust efforts in hair and nail salons, healthcare, outdoor labor, and construction.

OSHA eTool helps employers prevent shock and electrocution hazards

To provide assistance to employers in complying with OSHA’s Subpart S Electrical Standards for General Industry electrical installation standard, the agency has developed the new “Subpart S eTool” (eTools are “stand-alone,” interactive, Web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics).

The eTool shows employers all of the Subpart S installation requirements that apply based on the time period in which an installation was built or last modified. Users select a requirement category and date range from a matrix, and the eTool displays the requirements applicable to an installation built or modified during that range.

The standard, which became effective in 2007, is intended to reduce the risk of injury and death caused by unsafe electrical installations.

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