Safety Net | November 2020

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Noise is Not The Only Cause of Hearing Loss 10.19.2020 | by JJ Keller

Noise exposure can cause hearing loss, but exposure to chemicals called ototoxicants may also cause hearing loss, even when noise levels are below OSHA’s action level. These chemicals can damage the inner ear, causing balance problems as well as hearing loss. Worse, some studies suggest that the combined effects of exposure to both noise and ototoxicants may increase hearing loss more dramatically.As we reflect on the year so far, there are some key lessons learned and tips to navigate future crises. According to OSHA, some ototoxicants include:


• Solvents such as carbon disulfide, n-hexane, toluene, p-xylene, ethylbenzene, n-propylbenzene, styrene and methylstyrene, and trichloroethylene • Asphyxiants such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and its salts, and tobacco smoke

Austin employees have worked 3,721,683 hours without a Lost Time Accident through 10/2020.

• Nitriles such as 3-Butenenitrile, cis-2pentenenitrile, acrylonitrile, cis-crotononitrile, and 3,3’-iminodipropionitrile • Metals and compounds such as mercury

OSHA Stand Down for Fall Protection Sept.14-18, 2020 Western operations had three (3) project. See below.

compounds, germanium dioxide, organic tin compounds, and lead. This is not a complete list, and limited evidence suggest ototoxicity of other chemicals including cadmium, arsenic, bromates, halogenated hydrocarbons, insecticides, alkylic compounds, and manganese.

CONTROLLING EXPOSURE Ototoxicants can reach the inner ear through the blood stream and cause injury to inner parts of the ear and connected neural pathways. Exposure may occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Health effects vary based on exposure frequency,

Weber Metals had 13 attended OSHA Stand Down 9-16-20. Greg Dildine give presentation on the proper inspection and use of a body harness.

intensity, duration, exposure to other hazards, and individual factors such as age. The first step in preventing exposure is to know if ototoxicants are in the workplace. One way to identify them is by reviewing Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for ototoxic substances and/ or chemicals, and ototoxic health hazards associated with ingredients in the product. When ototoxicity information is not available, data on other toxicity may provide clues. Most chemicals that affect the auditory system are also neurotoxic and/or nephrotoxic. Information on whether a chemical produces reactive free radicals could also give clues

Aerojet Rocketdyne had 60 attended on 9/14/20. 3 M hosted this presentation.

about potential ototoxicity. Once identified, prevention measures might include using a different chemical, adopting engineering or work practice controls, or evaluating personal protective equipment to limit exposures. Since many ototoxic substances can be absorbed through the skin, chemicalprotective gloves, arm sleeves, aprons and other appropriate clothing can assist in reducing dermal exposure.

Lockheed Martin has 46 attended. Pictures show how a harness should fit a person when they fall.

American Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED Training

Picture ARC Training 125654 – The project team at Lockheed Martin in Mississippi successfully completed the American Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED training this month. Left to right – Raoul Mosquera, Kyle Perciak, Duane Lofdahl and Eddie Jones

Critical Lift Using Two Cranes

...continued on next page 3

A critical lift plan has been developed for our Lockheed Martin Project Western Operation. -. The project will have 24 critical lifts to set twenty-four (24) one hundred and forty-four-foot-long (144’) trusses weighting Approx. 66,000 pounds. The critical lift is reviewed with everyone just prior to each lift.

Are You Sure Your Operations Don’t Fall Under Process Safety Management? 09.28.2020 | JJ Keller Management Suite

• A 1910.119 Appendix A-listed chemical at or above the specified threshold quantities (the amount, in pounds, necessary at any one point in time for coverage under the PSM standard). Over 130 chemicals listed in Appendix A, with threshold quantities ranging from 50 pounds to 15,000 pounds. • 10,000 pounds or more of any flammable liquid or gas on site in one location. If an Appendix A-listed chemical is a flammable liquid or gas, the coverage threshold is the lower of the threshold quantity or 10,000 pounds. The definition of “process” extends beyond a simple tank and includes interconnected vessels, as well as separate vessels that could impact each other if a release were to occur.

EXEMPTIONS There are some exemptions for certain processes and facilities that otherwise would fall under the PSM standard. OSHA is increasingly focused on enforcement of its Process Safety Management (PSM) of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard (29 CFR 1910.119). Covered employers must implement very strict controls and adhere to a rigorous set of operating procedures. However, determining if your operations are covered is not always easy. For operations like chemical facilities, it may be obvious that the PSM standard applies. But many other operations, such as food manufacturers, can also fall under the PSM requirements.

WHO IS COVERED? Under PSM, a “process” includes almost any activity involving a highly hazardous chemical, including any use, storage, manufacturing, handling, or the on-site movement

These exemptions are: • Flammable liquid/gas hydrocarbon fuels used solely for workplace consumption as a fuel (e.g., propane used for comfort heating, gasoline for vehicle refueling), if the fuels are not a part of a process containing another highly hazardous chemical • Flammable liquids that are transferred or stored in “atmospheric tanks,” including 55-gallon drums, and that are kept below their normal boiling point without benefit of chilling or refrigeration • Retail facilities • Oil or gas well drilling or servicing operations

of these chemicals, or combination of these activities. The

• Normally unoccupied remote facilities.

standard applies to any establishment having a “process”

All establishments that have chemical processes should assess

that involves either:

their operations for coverage under the PSM standard.

Communication Strategies for Returning to Work During COVID-19 09.27.2020 | EHS Today The Cleveland Clinic offers some best practices in COVID communication. As many people continue to return to the workplace, one of the areas that will ensure success is how well an organization communicates. The Cleveland Clinic has offered best practices to consider:

1. Establish an incident command team or COVID-19 task force that includes representatives from Corporate Communications. Meet regularly and share information that communication professionals can provide to the organization/company. 2. Leadership involvement is a critical necessity and should include a cadence of regular communications to all your key audiences. Communication from leadership should be planned and provide valuable, consistent information to your employees and other key stakeholders. 3. Ensure your reactivation efforts align with your organization’s values and mission and tie them into your communications and messaging. 4. Rethink how you work. Do you need to consider moving from a five-day work week to a seven-day work week in your Communications department? Meet twice daily to identify needs at the beginning of the day and then wrap-up at the end of the day so everyone is aware and involved. Develop a procedure for clear hand-offs of projects at the end of each shift.

5. Identify target audiences, what information they need, how they will receive it and how often. 6. Assign Communications team members to different areas so they develop subject matter expertise and contacts within the departments with. 7. Reimagine how you communicate. With things changing quickly, you will likely need to increase the frequency of your communications. Evaluate the tools you have in place and identify how to utilize them in this evolving pandemic. 8. Tell your employees to be vigilant about procedures, to peer-identify people who they see putting themselves at risk, and to take care at home to protect their families 9. Don’t forget to tell your people how much you appreciate them. Assure them of the continuity of your mission, vision and values. 10. Be flexible. An open-minded approach is essential as you rethink and reimagine the best ways to address your communication needs with employees.


Cultivate a Culture of Safety With The Right Partnerships 10.05.2020 | ISHN by Chris Jones Employee safety is an important factor in every industry. According to the International Labor Organization, more than 2.78 million people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases each year. The organization tracks a further 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries a year, as well. High-risk applications — where people are operating heavy machinery, maneuvering large loads, or working in confined spaces, overhead or at heights — account for a significant percentage of these injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported nearly 200,000 non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the construction industry alone in 2018.

A CULTURE OF SAFETY An abundance of equipment options means contractors and facility managers can easily incorporate safety enhancement into their current process. However, to build a culture of safety, it’s important to create partnerships with manufacturers that share the same commitment. Rather than simply meet prescribed standards, industryleading manufacturers strive to exceed these guidelines. They carefully engineer and test products as well as offer continued support long after the initial purchase, ensuring long-term safety.

Though refractory installation techniques and equipment


have evolved over the years to offer increased safety,

A quick comparison of design features can help evaluate a

there are still a number of risks involved with the process.

manufacturer’s commitment to safety.

Cultivating a culture of safety on the jobsite is key to making sure every shift ends without incident. To help further on-site efforts, original equipment manufacturers have often been at the forefront of safety initiatives in the refractory industry, providing innovative equipment that addresses the specific risks of refractory installation. Working with these industry-leading manufacturers can result in a number of safety- and productivity-enhancing options specialized for refractory applications. Additionally, they provide a safety-conscious partner for continued support.

Start with materials. Equipment manufactured with 6061T6 aircraft aluminum offers the best strength-to-weight ratio, providing the durability of steel at a third the weight. However, welding aluminum products requires certified aluminum welders and specialized equipment, limiting its use by in-house engineers and certain manufacturers. Incorporating this lightweight material into designs, though, has a number of safety benefits. Modular pieces created with heavy-duty aluminum are lighter and easier to assemble, reducing risk of physical strain. Additionally, the material’s

strength can produce a high safety factor when combined

function. This intuitive engineering requires a thorough

with high-quality engineering.

understanding of not only refractory installation techniques,

For example, some parts of the world allow workers to

but the men and women on the jobsite, and is often a

enter before refractory and coating is removed. These

hallmark of equipment from manufacturers with a long

operations can employ safety cages and personnel tunnels

history in the industry.

available from a number of manufacturers, but not all

Custom design is also worth mentioning when it comes to

models offer the same degree of protection. A safety cage

evaluating equipment safety features. Working directly

manufactured with 6061-T6 aluminum, is strong enough

with a manufacturer for tailor-made equipment means

to protect workers from debris up to 140 kilograms (250

site-specific concerns can be addressed in design. For

pounds) falling from a height of up to 2.4 meters (8 feet),

example, a factory in South Carolina needed to safely

while still being light enough for two people to maneuver.

transport materials using a narrow ramp. To make sure there

Additionally, industry-leading manufacturers also use

was no risk of accidently driving equipment over the edge

aircraft grade aluminum for custom-designed kiln access ramps. This equipment takes into account challenges

and falling into the cooler, the manufacturer included a 406-millimeter (16-inch) curb guard on its custom-

presented by an operation’s burn floor, cooler and kiln and

engineered access ramp.

can support as much as 6,804 kilograms (15,000 pounds)


live load, increasing protection for workers and equipment moving across the ramp. A review of other standard features can also help differentiate more safety-conscious manufacturers. With the majority to refractory installation contractors opting to use a bricking machine, there are a number of models in operation around the world that offer varying degrees of safety. Originally designed to reduce physical strain and safety risks compared to traditional installation methods, such as pogo sticks, mechanical jack screws, gluing, and jack and timber, many decades-old, first-generation bricking machines can still provide basic protection for workers, as long as they are well maintained. However,

In addition to thorough design, comprehensive and continuous testing is another way top-tier manufacturers ensure equipment meets or exceeds safety standards. A number of live and simulated tests are performed throughout the design and manufacturing process. With a bricking machine, for example, stress modeling and static load testing is used to identify any design flaws that could lead to equipment failure. Movable parts, such as brick arches using a trolley system, are also tested in real-world scenarios to ensure safety. A drop test will determine if safety cage crumple zones will perform within specification. Each product is put through a battery of tests based on its function.

newer models provide the most innovative and cutting-

While some manufacturers are satisfied if equipment passes

edge technology, such as adjustable dual-arch systems

initial tests, others continue to analyze and adapt. Incident

with pneumatic cylinders to push bricks into place, greatly

reports from around the world are reviewed and recreated

reducing the risk of injuries from unsupported material

to see if a similar problem could arise. Additionally, safety-

overhead. Machines featuring ergonomic design elements

conscious manufacturers work with customers to make sure

further increase worker comfort and safety. For example,

their concerns are considered from every angle and the

some models offer a cut-away section for unobstructed

products are rigorously tested to everyone’s satisfaction.

access to the keying area to increase ease and visibility for closing out a ring. Additional safety features are also


available from specialized manufacturers, including non-slip

Some manufacturers take their commitment to safety a

decks, dual braking systems and fall guards.

step farther. In addition to continued product testing, they

Other design elements contractors should look for include fall guards, railings, kick plates, non-slip surfaces and

offer on-site equipment inspections, parts and service to ensure long-term safety.

stainless-steel netting. Standard inclusion of these features

For bricking machines, manufacturers recommend

indicates engineers have carefully considered real-world

inspections every three years or five uses. After eight years,

applications during the design phase and developed

ongoing annual inspection is encouraged. A technician

products with the human element in mind. Dropped tools,

conducts a visual evaluation as well as dye penetration

pinch points, distracted workers and other common jobsite

tests on all welds. Depending on the model, they will also

mishaps are given as much attention in design as overall ...continued on next page 7

check additional features, such as valves on machines with pneumatic cylinders. Based on results, the technician will recommend repairs and replacements that should be performed as well as advise on any safety upgrades available for a particular machine. These inspections can also be turned into a learning opportunity. Some manufacturers can combine on-site evaluations with training for plant personnel and contractors covering general maintenance, safety and storage procedures. Over time, crews change. Those on hand for the initial commissioning — where assembly, maintenance and storage requirements were originally outlined — may not be the same faces three years later. Taking advantage of continuing education opportunities is key to upholding a culture of safety. Additionally, top-tier manufacturers offer premium parts and service support. From yearly maintenance to parts tracking, partnering with a reputable manufacturer ensures equipment is ready for operation during unscheduled kiln downtime. A lasting partnership with these manufacturers means facilities and contractors have access to original parts and expert advice to optimize safety and efficiency.

LASTING SAFETY PARTNERSHIPS A safe workplace requires commitment, awareness, training and high-quality, well-maintained equipment. Partnering with a manufacturer that factors safety into every aspect of its products – from design, to testing, to aftermarket support – means everyone can feel confident each shift will end without incident.

Stairwell Collapse in Houston Leaves 3 Workers Dead and 1 Injured 10.05.2020 | New York Times by Bryan Pietsch engineer at the site to “secure the safety of the building.” All 240 workers on the site have been accounted for, he said. The stairwell in the 15-story building was a “precast interior” concrete staircase — stairs made to look as if they were floating — said Alanna Reed, a spokeswoman for Houston Public Works. The stairs that collapsed were “in the process of being set,” she said. The collapse started near the 13th and 14th floors, Capt. Ruy Lozano of the Houston Fire Department told KPRC, a local television station. The stairs collapsed to the first floor, he said. Names of the victims were not immediately released. Inspectors from the Public Works Department visited the The 15-story building had been inspected hours before the accident. Three workers were killed and one was injured after a stairwell collapsed on Monday afternoon in a building that was under construction in Houston, the authorities said.

site for a routine check on Monday, before the collapse, Ms. Reed said, and found no “red flag.” They returned after the accident to confirm that it was the stairwell that had collapsed, she said. On Friday, inspectors performed a check of the construction site to approve a ceiling covering and had no concerns, Ms.

The Houston Fire Department’s technical rescue team

Reed said. “As far as our structural team was concerned,

responded to the accident, the department said in a

Harvey Builders was doing everything they were supposed

statement. The injured worker was taken to a nearby

to,” she said.

hospital and was in “stable condition,” the department said.

Harvey Builders, the construction company, did not

The three bodies had not yet been retrieved as of Monday

immediately respond to a request for comment on

evening, a spokesman for the city’s Office of Emergency

Monday evening.

Management said, as the rescue team coordinated with an

Setting Up A Workplace Safety and Health Program 08.23.2020 | Safety + Health Looking for some quick recommendations for setting up a

6. Collect hazard control ideas. Ask workers for ideas on

workplace safety and health program? OSHA has 10 steps:

how to make workplace improvements and then follow

1. Establish safety and health as a core value of your

up on their suggestions. Give them time during business

organization. Convey to your workers that starting and finishing their day safely is the way you want to do

hours, if possible, to research solutions. 7. Implement hazard controls. Assign workers the task of

business. Let them know you intend to work with them to

choosing, implementing and evaluating the solutions

find and fix any hazards that could result in injury or illness.

they suggest.

2. Lead by example. Model safe behaviors and make safety part of your daily conversations with workers. 3. Create a reporting system. Develop and communicate a process for workers to report injuries, illnesses, near misses, hazards, or safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation. Include an option for anonymous reporting. 4. Train your workers. Teach workers how to identify and control workplace hazards. 5. Conduct inspections. Walk through the workplace with staff and ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment or materials that concern them. Use

8. Plan for emergencies. Identify possible emergency scenarios and develop instructions on how to react in each case. Discuss these procedures during employee meetings and post them in a visible location in the workplace. 9. Seek input on changes. Before you make big changes to the workplace, consult with workers to identify potential safety or health issues. 10. Make improvements to your program. Set aside a regular time to discuss safety and health issues, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the program.

checklists to help identify problems.


COVID-19 and Workplace Injuries: What’s the Connection? 10.06.2020 | EHS Today by Rick Barker and Jennifer Sinkwitts Physical deconditioning due to inactivity leads to reduced

best way to explain the higher injury risks for the industrial

cardiovascular health, muscle mass and flexibility.

worker is to consider the career of an athlete.

Workplace injuries are on the rise—another dire result of

When an athlete takes a hiatus, either due to an injury or

COVID-19. During VelocityEHS’ virtual event, The Short

after a competitive event, endurance levels and strength

Conference, nearly 500 attendees were polled on worker

capabilities begin to diminish. We’ve all heard the phrase

stress and muscular discomfort experienced since the

“use it or lose it”—well, it’s true. According to many exercise

onset of COVID-19. Eighty-nine percent reported that their

professionals and fitness app blogs, if we start to slack (or

essential workers were experiencing the same to significantly

stop training all together), deconditioning begins and

more stress and muscular discomfort. When asked if they

is noticeable within as few as seven days, and after a

expected workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to

prolonged break (a month or two), we can experience

decrease or increase once all employees return to work,

a significant or almost complete loss of fitness. The actual

95% felt they would either stay the same or increase.

timeframes depend on the individual’s level of fitness before

DECONDITIONING OF THE INDUSTRIAL ATHLETE It makes sense that office workers are at a higher risk— many were immediately told to work from home when the pandemic began and not given adequate equipment. The

the break. No one is immune to deconditioning—not the marathon runner, and not the industrial worker. It makes sense. The less you move, lift and carry—whether on a weight bench or on the shop floor—the more your heart must work. Physical deconditioning means reduced cardiovascular health, muscle mass and flexibility.

Bianca Sfalcin and Brandon Beltzman, both board-certified

Research Institute and Honda Chair professor at The

ergonomists with VelocityEHS’ Humantech, explain how

Ohio State University. During his keynote address at the

inactivity causes deconditioning:

2019 Applied Ergonomics Conference, he also said,

1. Reduced cardiovascular fitness: Lack of physical activity

“The prevalence of low back disorders exceeds that of

can cause the heart to atrophy, making it more difficult

diabetes, COPD and asthma.”

to pump blood to working muscles.

Because the lower back is the most problematic area in

2. Reduced physical endurance: Our energy utilization shifts, which results in lactic acid buildup and wholebody fatigue. 3. Reduced muscle strength: The average person can lose between 1% and 3% of muscle strength per day. 4. Reduced range of motion: Weeks of reduced activity may limit our ability to extend or bend body segments due to less elasticity and increased muscle stiffness. 5. Weight gain: As we transition from daily physical activity to less, we burn fewer calories. These losses contribute to performance deficits, quality errors, and an increase in MSDs in jobs where there was already a mismatch between job requirements and human performance capabilities. When the out-of-shape worker is

the musculoskeletal system and the most easily injured part of the body, he and his team have been hard at work researching ways to remove the risk factors that we are exposed to. We need to be aware of the prevalence, as well as the loads and unintentional forces we put on ourselves, especially since diagnosing and treating back pain is often very difficult. Back facts: • Low back injuries account for $15.1 billion in direct costs per year, and at 1.1 the direct costs, an additional $16.6 billion in indirect costs. • Medical care and hospital services have grown substantially over the past 20 years, and MSDs directly contribute to those costs.

eventually called back to work on an assembly line or in a

• A precise diagnosis is unknown in 80% to 90% of patients.

job that involves material handling, little thought may have

• Up to 20% of low back disorders are attributable to

gone into the causes and effects of deconditioning. Without

push and pull over exertions during manual material

engineering controls or processes in place to recondition

handling tasks.

the worker, productivity issues, quality concerns, and possibly more recordable injuries could land in the organization’s lap.

Now more than ever, EHS leaders need to take note of their deconditioned workers and implement controls to reduce


MSD risk and lower back disorders.

Here’s a fact: Whether a worker is fit or not, lifting any


heavy object from the ground is considered high risk.

Sfalcin provides guidance to workers and leadership on

Just recently, German researchers conducted a study to examine a new in vivo technique by surgically implanting strain gauges to measure actual spinal loads during a manual lifting task; postural techniques of both squat and stoop lifting were examined. There are two important findings: • There is significant spinal load when lifting any object off the ground. This confirms that the magnitude of spinal loading during manual lifting is a primary biomechanical risk factor for low back disorders. • The maximum spinal forces were basically identical for both techniques, which proves it doesn’t matter how you lift; they’re both bad.

how to reintegrate into standard work without impacting manufacturing production and product quality. Workers should: • Review workstation inventory. Ensure all tools, equipment and supplies are in the correct location and that all equipment is in proper working condition. • Reduce non-value-added activity. Review the on-floor operations and identify ways to eliminate movement waste. This may involve making changes to the workstation layout, organizing the tools and equipment, or determining the most efficient way to complete the task. Especially as everyone practices physical distancing—6 feet apart—consider ways to mechanically

The rate of low back injuries has increased 17% in the last

transport products between workstations. This will reduce

30 years, and it’s the most disabling condition, according

worker bending and reaching when retrieving products.

to William Marras, Ph.D., executive director at the Spine ...continued on next page

• Identify the tasks that require the highest forceful exertion and the most awkward postures. Analyze the jobs to pinpoint where the highest forces and awkward postures are, determine their true root cause(s), and then brainstorm engineering solutions to eliminate or reduce exposure to them. Implement the improvements that are feasible for the time being. • Implement engineering controls to reduce employee exposure to MSD risk factors. If production is slow, it may be the perfect time to make physical changes to the workstation layout, equipment, or process. Focus on high-impact, low-cost engineering solutions that are quick to implement. • Add additional error-proofing stations. Consider adding temporary checkpoint stations to ensure that all work is getting done correctly. This not only helps ensure that product quality is on point, but it also helps to eliminate rework and waste. • Limit job rotation. If job rotation is not done correctly, it has the potential to increase the workplace injury rate by increasing the number of employees exposed to high-risk jobs. Therefore, it is not an effective ergonomics solution. In addition, less job rotation will reduce common touchpoints among workers, which may help reduce the spread of germs and help employees feel safer. • Bring in healthcare professionals. A physiotherapist or a message therapist can address employee discomfort as soon as it starts. Managers should: • Ensure all employees complete general ergonomics awareness training to gain a full understanding of what ergonomics is, why it is important, and what is expected of them. Everyone should know the primary MSD hazards so they can identify and report ergonomics issues at their own workstations. • Train each employee to complete an ergonomics self-assessment. Use a qualitative assessment tool to enable employees to assess each task within their day-to-day jobs. • Instruct each employee to review standard operating procedures (SOP). Each SOP should be up to date and available to review prior to restarting work. This can help workers recall all steps in the process or prepare for the next model production. Ultimately, it can help reduce errors and improve product quality. • Limit overtime hours. Employers should consider having more employees work fewer hours, as opposed to having fewer employees work more hours. This will prevent additional physical stress. • Encourage proactive communication. Ensure employees know that they can (and should) report physical discomfort. Whether it is through weekly surveys or ergonomics self-assessments, early reporting will help prevent issues that would otherwise turn into an MSD. • Encourage employees to take all available breaks throughout the day. Breaks from physical activity allow time for muscle recovery. • Encourage employees to focus on personal fitness and overall well-being during their personal time. Advise them to take daily walks to maintain cardiovascular fitness and try at-home workouts to maintain muscle strength and overall fitness. The good news is that deconditioning can be reversed. Just because you’re unfit today doesn’t mean you have to be tomorrow.

Michigan OSHA “MIOSHA” Reported Their 26 Fatality For The Year DATE








A 26-year-old laborer was sent to repair a manhole and replace the cover when he was struck by a passing vehicle.


Struck by

St. Clair Shores

America’s Never-Ending Struggle To Ensure Workplace Safety 10.09.2020 | EDT - Niall McCarthy Contributor

Years needed for OSHA to inspect all U.S. job sites by state at its current staffing levels. Considerable progress has been made in improving occupational safety in the United States and reducing workplace accidents and fatalities. A report published earlier this week by AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. federation of trade unions, shows that the number of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers in the U.S. fell from 4.2 in 2006 to 3.5 in 2018. Despite the improvement, significant challenges still remain, such as reducing deaths among Latino workers who experienced 3.7 fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 people, a rate higher than the national average. Federal and state inspections by OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) are an important element of the national occupational safety strategy but the agency’s staffing and resources remain woefully inadequate to carry out its tasks. In FY 2019, there were 1,767 OSHA inspectors operating across the U.S. and they were responsible for 147 million employees. That is just one inspector for every 83,207 employees and the total falls far short of a key benchmark set by the International Labor Organization which states that the number of inspectors in the U.S. should be 14,703. The report highlighted the sheer scale of the challenge facing OSHA in carrying out its inspections by providing an overview of the of the years needed to inspect all U.S. job sites in different states at the agency’s current staffing levels. The task looks to be something of an Everest for OSHA and it would take 323 years to guarantee safety at all work sites in Arkansas alone. In South Carolina, Florida and Arizona, it would also take more than 250 years unless the situation changes for the overstretched agency.


How Businesses Can Handle E-Waste 09.30.2020 | Environmental Protection by Emily Folk Making repairs, finding a reputable recycling company, donating older products and cutting down on purchases are just a few ways businesses can manage their e-waste problem.

MAKE REPAIRS Sometimes laptops become irreparably damaged, or the projector you used for trade shows no longer works. However, many electronics can be easily repaired

We generate more electronic waste today than ever

rather than replaced. In today’s market, consumers are

before in history. Companies are being held accountable

bombarded with advertisements for new and improved

for what they do with their trash, including e-waste. New

electronics. Instead of declaring products obsolete after just

computers and software can be key to a successful

a couple of years, companies should invest in long-lasting

business, but what happens to the old monitors and hard

equipment that’s more sustainable than devices that need

drives that are no longer needed?

updating each year.

Electronic waste accounts for only 2% of debris in landfills

Repairing office equipment and electronics is not only

but contributes two-thirds of heavy metal toxins, making it

an eco-friendly solution to e-waste, but it can also save

one of the main contributors to toxic leaching. These metals

businesses money. In most cases, the cost of repairing

break down in the soil, emitting dangerous gases harmful to

equipment is significantly lower than replacing it.

humans and the environment. Businesses contribute a huge amount of e-waste, and in


the past, many simply took it to the landfill or had it illegally

About 60% of electronic waste ends up in landfills,

dumped. In the face of climate change, companies must

contaminating the soil with toxins like mercury and

find new, sustainable ways to handle e-waste. Making

lead. However, recycling e-waste is not always easy.

repairs, finding a reputable recycling company, donating

Unlike regular recycling, it often requires special service.

older products and cutting down on purchases are just a

Additionally, many developed countries, such as the United

few ways businesses can manage their e-waste problem.

States, have a history of shipping e-waste to impoverished areas where products are not responsibly recycled.


The impact of inefficient recycling is not only environmental,

purchases from the beginning, the amount of waste left

but also social. In Guiyu, China, one of the most polluted

to handle will decrease.

cities in the world, individuals break apart electronics to salvage internal parts, often threatening human health. An estimated 20-50 million tons of e-waste are produced annually, and this number is only growing.

DONATE OLDER PRODUCTS When performing an office wide software update or expanding your team, you may find you need to get rid of electronics that are still usable. If this is the case, donating older products can be an easy solution. Reach out to local

Involving employees in the decision-making process may be an ideal place to start. Many businesses require specific electronics to complete job functions. For example, if you work in interior design, you may need a portable laptop with a drawing feature that allows you to create artwork for clients. If you are presented with a computer that does not have these functions, it will not be used. Employers can reduce waste by making sure products meet employee needs in the first place.

schools or charities and see if any vulnerable populations


need equipment.

The environmental impact of e-waste is significant.

Donating, rather than discarding, is a fantastic way to

Businesses can save money and build sustainability

handle e-waste. Depending on the donation, you may also

practices by responsibly managing it. Minimizing

qualify for tax deductions as a bonus of responsibly reusing

unnecessary purchases, donating items, partnering with a

older electronics.

reputable recycling company and repairing electronics are


just a few ways companies can handle e-waste disposal.

The first step toward sustainable waste management is creating less trash in the first place. If businesses focus on minimizing unnecessary or unneeded electronic


Reporting Injuries and Worse to OSHA 10.15.2020 | If a serious injury or fatality occurs on the job, do you know the OSHA reporting requirements or do you automatically assume you are exempt? Review the main points to remember now so you are prepared, and then keep the focus on safety so you never have to put this knowledge to use.

What If My Organization Is Not Covered By Federal Osha Or I Know My State Has An Osha State Plan? Many states operate their own occupational safety and health programs for private sector and/or state and local government workers. Reporting requirements may vary by

All employers are required to notify OSHA when an

state, although all states must have or be in the process of

employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related

developing requirements that are at least as effective as

hospitalization, an amputation as a result of a work-place

OSHA’s. Refer to your State Plan Reporting Requirements

incident, or the loss of an eye on the job.

for clarification.

• A fatality must be reported within 8 hours.

How Is An Injury Or Fatality Reported?

• Hospitalization, amputation and eye loss must be reported with 24 hours. For clarification related to Coronavirus, refer to OSHA’s website here: OSHA Safety and Health Topics | COVID-19

What Companies Are Required To Report?

There are three ways you can report a fatality or an injury that was de-scribed above. 1. Call the local OSHA office. Note: If the local area OSHA office is closed, then don’t wait for the office to open, use another method of reporting.

OSHA standards and requirements, including this injury

2. Call the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742.

and fatality re-porting requirement, apply to most

3. Report online.

private sector employers in the United States. If your company or organization is not a farm and is not a

What Information Needs To Be Reported?

government sector or organization, then assume this

Be prepared to provide the business name, the name(s)

reporting requirement applies. If you really aren’t sure

of any employees affected, the date/time of the

and would like to find out, please call OSHA at 1-800-

incident, a brief description of the incident including

321-6742 to receive clarification.

the location, and a contact name and phone number.

When reporting the incident online you will be required

eye loss within 24 hours of a work-related incident, then

to provide additional details about the incident so be

you must report the event to OSHA and describe the

prepared to get that information quickly so you can

conditions. Note: if your company is required to maintain

provide it to OSHA.

OSHA injury and illness records, the incident will still have

What If The Fatality Or Injury Occurred When The Employee Was Driving Or Was Using Public Transportation To Get To Or From Work?

to be recorded in those logs.

If there was a motor vehicle accident that occurred in a

What If It’s Still Not Clear After Reading The Requirements If The Incident Should Be Reported To Osha Or Not?

construction work zone, you must report if the accident

If you aren’t sure about the circumstances of the incident

resulted in a fatality, hospitalization, amputation or loss of

or if it occurred on a public street or highway you may

an eye. However, if the motor vehicle accident occurred

want to notify OSHA just in case. Failure to notify OSHA

on a public street or highway or the employee was on

can add a hefty fine and cause add more complications

commercial or public transportation (like an airplane,

to a difficult situation.

train, subway or bus), you do not have to report. Note:

What If The Employee Was Admitted To The Hospital But Only For Observation?

if your company is required to maintain OSHA injury and illness records, the incident will still have to be recorded in those logs.

Admission to the hospital does not need to be reported if the purpose is only for observation or diagnostic testing.

What If The Employee Was Treated At An Emergency Room Or Urgent Care Clinic?

Hospitalizations that involve care or treatment must

If there was a workplace injury that resulted in care

Will Reporting An Incident As Required Automatically Result In An Osha Investigation At The Job Site?

provided at an emergency room or urgent care clinic ONLY, then that does NOT need to be reported if the employee was not admitted to the hospital.

be reported.

Reporting fatalities and incidents as required will not

Does Cutting The Tip Of A Finger Off Count As Amputation?

automatically result in an OSHA site visit, however

Yes, fingertip amputations with or without bone loss do

trained in how best to react if an OSHA compliance

employees and management should be prepared and

count as an amputation. An amputation is the traumatic

officer does visit the site to complete an investigation.

loss of all or part of a limb or other external body part.

The details of these requirements can be found in OSHA

Who Should Do The Reporting If The Employee Is A Temporary Worker? The employer that provides the day-to-day supervision of the worker must report to OSHA.

Standard 1904.39 Reporting Fatality, Injury and Illness Information to the Government. For a great resource to learn more about exactly which companies and organizations are covered by OSHA, you can download the All About OSHA publication.

What If The Employee Had A Heart Attack?

While it’s important to be aware of OSHA reporting

If an employee had a heart attack while on the job

requirements, it’s equally important that continual

that resulted in death or hospitalization, then report the incident and the local OSHA Area Of-fice will decide whether to investigate, depending on the circumstances

improvement of your safety and health program is a priority. Holding regular safety meetings with your crews, teams and staff is the best way to ensure that your

of the heart attack.

company is meeting and exceeding OSHA’s compliance

What If There Was A Job-Related Incident That Didn’t Result In A Fatality Or Reportable Injury But Then It Did Happen Much Later After The Work Incident?

lowering the risk of safety violations.

If a fatality occurs within 30 days of a work-related incident, or if there is a hospitalization, amputation or

standards as well as improving workplace safety and