Author Archives: OH&S News

New Data Reports that Construction Employment Has Increased in 29 States

New Data Reports that Construction Employment Has Increased in 29 States The Labor Department says that between August 2018 and August 2019, the construction industry saw an increase in jobs, particularly in states like Texas and Florida. Oct 11, 2019 In early October, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) released its analysis of Labor Department data on employment in the construction industry. With recent concerns about a workforce shortage in construction, the influx of jobs in the last year is a positive trend. The analysis found that 39 states, including the District of Columbia, added construction jobs between August 2018 and August 2019, and construction employment increased in 29 states from July to August of 2019. Association officials suspect that the lack of increase in construction jobs in September of 2019 could be due to overall workforce shortages. The shortage, it seems, could be due to the fact that there are simply not enough people to hire. The association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, said the following: “Even more states probably would have posted gains in construction employment if firms could find enough people to hire…They are finding most craft positions hard to fill, even though average pay in construction pays is higher than the all-industry average in nearly every state.” The following results show the trends in construction over the past year and which states showed the most adjustment. States that added the most construction jobs from most to least. Texas added the most construction jobs over the year (43,900 jobs, 5.9%), followed by California (34,300 jobs, 4.0%), Florida (20,900 jobs, 3.8%), and Arizona (15,400 jobs, 9.7%). North Dakota added the highest percentage of construction jobs over 12 months (12.1%, 3,100 jobs), followed by Nevada (11.7%, 10,500 jobs), Arizona, and New Mexico (9.2%, 4,300 jobs). Construction employment reached a record high in Nebraska and Texas. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Not One but Four Dollar Tree Stores Locations are Cited for OSHA Penalties

Not One but Four Dollar Tree Stores Locations are Cited for OSHA Penalties OSHA cited Dollar Tree Stores at four separate Idaho locations for exposing employees to unsafe merchandise storage and blocked walkways and exit routes. The company faces $898,682 in penalties. Oct 10, 2019 Dollar Tree Stores is facing major penalties from OSHA for exposing its workers to storage and walkway violations, among others. OSHA cited the company at four Idaho locations and is charging a total of $898,682 in penalties.    OSHA initially responded to a complaint that a Dollar Tree in Boise was exposing employees to unstable stacks and piles of boxes in the store’s stockroom. Soon after, inspectors received another compliant alleging similarly unsafe conditions at Dollar Tree locations in Caldwell, Nampa, and Meridian.    At all four stores, inspectors found unsafe conditions as reported: boxes were improperly stacked—often with heavier boxes on top of lighter ones—and blocked aisles and exit routes. At one store, inspectors heard from an employee who suffered injury and needed help after boxes fell on the individual. While an inspector shot a video of conditions during a separate inspection, a stack of boxes fell and almost injured an employee. Apparently, falling boxes had injured other employees, inspectors learned.    Improper box stacking and blockage of aisles and exit routes is not the only reasons the company is facing penalties. Inspectors cited the company for violations related to blocked electrical panels, improper use of a ladder, and exposing workers to falls from heights. The citations can be viewed here. Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA Names Small Texas company as SHARP Participant

OSHA Names Small Texas company as SHARP Participant SigmaPro Engineering and Manufacturing, LLC is one of many small businesses using OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program. Oct 09, 2019 An engineering company in Fort Worth, Texas was named OSHA’s newest SHARP Participant after utilizing OSHA’s consultation program. Now, the company is not only in compliance, but expanding its size and inspiring other companies to keep workplaces safe.  SigmaPro Engineering and Manufacturing, LLC is a small electronic connector manufacturing facility northern Texas. Established in 2000, the company has since grown from a single building to two production buildings, a warehouse, and 150 employees nationwide. But this story starts years ago: like many small businesses and startups, SigmaPro did have a safety program in place, but the company was not sure if it met all the state and federal requirements. SigmaPro set up a consultation with a Texas safety consultant from the Texas Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program (OSHCON) on the OSHA website.  After SigmaPro’s initial OSHCON visit to SigmaPro’s main facility in 2015, OSHCON consultants did find safety hazards, but the company’s employees were eager to learn and improve. The OSHCON consultant continued to recommend improving the company’s accident, incident, and root cause analysis program. The consultant also offered tips for creating goals and objectives each year like including safety as a key measure in employee performance evaluations and letting hourly employees steer decision-making in regard to safety.  It didn’t take long for SigmaPro to put these recommendations into effect—or better yet, go above and beyond. In 2016, SigmaPro earned SHARP status. The On-Site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small business employers who operate a exemplary safety and health programs.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

ASSP Announces New Live Virtual Classroom Model

ASSP Announces New Live Virtual Classroom Model Now, ASSP classes will welcome virtual participants through two-way video projection, making it easier for students in their home and office to get a safety education. Oct 08, 2019 The possibilities with technology are truly endless. Now, ASSP classes for safety training are open to virtual participants using two-way video projections. A safety professional from their home or office can now tune in to a class lecture, participate in group discussions, and get all the benefits from face-to-face instruction that an in-classroom students does. This new learning option is called Live Virtual Classroom. As director of professional development Chris Ballman said, “We’re removing barriers and making it easier than ever to receive high-quality continuing education that can help advance your safety career. It’s a next-generation approach to educating groups of safety professionals across the country and around the world, and we’re really excited about it.” Virtual participants must have a computer equipped with webcam and audio and have Internet access. On the day of the course, technical support will be available by phone to help participants get set up should they have trouble. This month, the Live Virtual Classroom will debut with the following five instructor-led safety courses, held in Dallas: Advanced Safety Management Methods on Oct. 7-9. Whether the learner is a safety executive or emerging safety professional, the three-day course will help participants develop the knowledge and tools to improve safety performance in any organization. Strategies focus on risk, business, and the reality of human performance. Let's block ads! (Why?)

How the NIOSH Drug Toolkit is Helping First Responders

How the NIOSH Drug Toolkit is Helping First Responders Because first responder personnel are often the first to interact with someone who has overdosed, they are in serious need of illicit drug training. NIOSH’s recent drug toolkit is helping these first responders get the training they need. Oct 07, 2019 Unfortunately, first responders see many individuals who suffer from illicit drug use and abuse. When overdoses occur, emergency personnel are often the first on the scene to help with medical attention. Although their job is to help the patient, emergency responders should be aware of the health risks that are present in an environment with illicit drugs. Not long ago, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a new employer opioid and drug toolkit for worker safety. The kit is a great resource for really anyone—employers, colleagues, and emergency personnel—to learn how to help with someone suffering from drug abuse responsibly and safely. An article by the American Society for Safety Professionals (ASSP) delves into how this toolkit is particularly beneficial for emergency responders. The toolkit offers resources on the dangers of illicit drug exposure and steps personnel can take to protect themselves including two training videos produced in collaboration with police and fire departments. The first video features actual footage from a police officer’s body camera while responding to an overdose call. Titled Illicit Drugs, Including Fentanyl: Preventing Occupational Exposure to Emergency Responders, the video demonstrates the potential health effects of illicit drug exposure. “This video was developed to educate first responders using a real-life example that should resonate with many emergency responders and gives recommendations for minimal, moderate and high exposure situations,” says Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, CIH, industrial hygienist with the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness Response Office. The second video, Properly Using PPE to Avoid Illicit Drug Exposure to First Responders, has information on how to best wear and remove PPE, as well as the types of PPE that should be used in different situations. In addition to these informational videos, the toolkit also features infographics and a postcard. These give quick tips on the do’s and don’ts of working in environments where illicit drugs are present. The NIOSH toolkit has valuable resources for emergency responders, of course. But it also provides ways in which workers not in the emergency response industry—including employers and colleagues—can best be prepared to help someone who is using or abusing illicit drugs. It’s a lot more common than you might think. Let's block ads! (Why?)

22 Injured in Military Parachute Training

22 Injured in Military Parachute Training At least 22 soldiers were hurt as hundreds parachuted onto a Mississippi military base during a training exercise. Army spokesperson says some of the paratroopers were blown off course from their landing zone into a group of pine trees. Oct 04, 2019 A number of U.S. soldiers in a parachute training exercise were injured after being blown off course into a stand of pine trees at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. At least 15 of the people were treated by medics, and another seven were hospitalized, said U.S. Army spokesman John Pennell. Staff Sgt. John Healy said none of the injuries are considered to be life-threatening. The training exercise involved 650 soldiers jumping from C-130 planes Wednesday night. When some were blown off course, they landed in a stand of pine trees and several became entangled in the branches and had to be rescued. The troops for Camp Shelby belong to the 4th Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division stationed at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. A statement made by the Mississippi National Guard said that the training is set to continue once all of the soldiers have been accounted for. The training is part of a monthlong training called “Operation Arctic Anvil” involving about 3,000 troops. “Soldiers always place the mission first,” the statement said. The statement also said injuries on training like this are not only common, but anticipated. “Prior to the jump,” the national guard had notified Forrest General Hospital “of the potential influx of patients and the types of injuries to be expected and emergency vehicles were on standby at Camp Shelby prior to the jump.” Read more about the topic from this AP news article. Let's block ads! (Why?)

One Billion Dollars Goes to Infrastructure Grants for 354 U.S. Airports

One Billion Dollars Goes to Infrastructure Grants for 354 U.S. Airports The U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao recently announced a billion-dollar plan to improve airport safety, travel, and economies around the country. This is the fifth allotment of the multi-billion-dollar FAA AIP airport funding project. Oct 04, 2019 The industry of flying: as nonchalantly as we tend to regard flying (commercially or otherwise), it comes with some serious safety and security considerations. As a part of a larger funding project for U.S. airports, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced an allotment of one billion dollars to 354 airports in 44 U.S. states. The department will award a total of $986 million in airport infrastructure grants to hundreds of U.S. airports as well as those in Puerto Rico and Micronesia. This is the fifth allotment of the total $3.18 billion in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for airports across the U.S. The massive funding project has a multi-faceted goal: to improve airport safety, better travel, generate jobs, and facilitate economic opportunities for local communities, explained U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. A handful of specific projects have been selected for airports. Among these are runway reconstruction and rehabilitation; construction of firefighting facilities; noise mitigation; emissions reduction; and maintenance of taxiways, aprons, and terminals. While efforts like these will undoubtedly make airports that much easier and more comfortable places to travel in, they will ultimately increase airport safety, too. The construction equipment supported by this funding increases the airports’ safety, emergency response capabilities, and capacity, and could support further economic growth within each airport’s region, explains the DOT. With 3,332 airports and 5,000 paved runways, the airport infrastructure in the U.S. needs constant attention to ensure safety for all. U.S. civil aviation accounts for a whopping $1.6 trillion—yes, trillion—in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs, according to the FAA’s most recent economic analysis. The people depend on reliable aviation infrastructure, to say the least. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Mississippi Manufacturer Cited After Fatal Accident

Mississippi Manufacturer Cited After Fatal Accident Last week, OSHA cited Howard Industries Inc. in Mississippi for exposing employees to struck-by and fall hazards after a fatality at the facility. Oct 03, 2019 Howard Industries Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of electrical transmission and distribution equipment, is facing $53,040 in penalties after a workplace fatality. The company reportedly failed to protect its workers from struck-by and fall hazards. The employee was performing a leak test on a transformer when a drive chain supporting the equipment failed. After an OSHA inspection, it was determined that the company failed to ensure employees did the following: use appropriate drive and safety chains; properly inspect, use, and maintain the chains; conduct periodic inspection of the energy control procedures; ensure that procedures for using the leak test device explained how to isolate or control the release of hazardous energy; and provide fall protection. Regularly inspecting equipment, training employees on the hazards they are exposed to, and using proper precautions are all crucial aspects to keeping employees safe, explained OSHA Jackson Area Director Courtney Bohannon. OSHA provides resources on controlling hazardous energy and an interactive lockout/tagout training program. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Read more about the citation from the OSHA news release. Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA Implements New Weighting System for Workplace Inspections

OSHA Implements New Weighting System for Workplace Inspections OSHA knows many factors impact workplace safety. Starting today, OSHA will put into effect its new weighting system for workplace safety and health inspections. Oct 02, 2019 OSHA inspections are getting a makeover; now, they will consider other factors outside of just a time-weighted basis. The OSHA Weighting System (OWS) will go into effect October 1, 2019, and will replace the current weighting system initiated in FY 2015. A new weighted inspection system comes from the growing concern that the current reliance on the factor of time does not provide a holistic evaluation of a workplace’s safety and health. OSHA understands time is not the only factor to assess when considering the potential impact of an inspection. Other factors—like types of hazards inspected and abated and effective targeting—also influence the impact on workplace safety and health. The new system includes enforcement initiatives like Site-Specific Targeting to the weighting system. OSHA’s new weighting system will incorporate the three major work elements performed by the field: enforcement activity, essential enforcement support functions (e.g., severe injury reporting and complaint resolution), and compliance assistance efforts. OHSA has been running the new weighting system to confirm data integrity. For more information, read the OHSA news release on the new system. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Studies Show Hand Washing May Be More Effective Than Sanitizer

Studies Show Hand Washing May Be More Effective Than Sanitizer With flu season around the corner, research suggests running water and soap is the best defense. Sep 30, 2019 Hand sanitizer might not be as effective as people think—especially against the flu. In a new study published by mSphere, researchers found that hand-washing under running water removed the flu virus from hands faster than did a dab of alcohol sanitizer, as previous studies have suggested. There have been other studies that suggest hand-washing is the superior method against germs, but the results are not easily applicable to real-world scenarios. The study compared putting hand sanitizer on (without rubbing it in) to using running water and soap (while rubbing hands together). The study did find some interesting results between the two, but it did not factor in how rubbing your hands together while using sanitizer or soap may affect results, said the study’s author, Ryohei Hirose, M.D., Ph.D., at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Michigan in Japan. While hand hygiene is imperative in preventing the spread of germs, colds, and viruses like the flu, scientists have long debated the effectiveness of hand-washing compared to sanitizer. mSphere’s study suggested, even with its limitations, that using hand sanitizer can remove the flu virus, but it took much longer than hand-washing did. The main reason? The mucus from the mouth and nose—which carries the flu virus if you’re infected—is not easily penetrated by the alcohol-based sanitizer. “We had predicted that the virus in mucus would be somewhat resistant to alcohol disinfectants,” says Hirose. But it seemed to shield the flu virus from the hand sanitizer even more than expected. While this is just the beginning of studies comparing hand sanitizer and hand washing, there is more to understand. Here are the main takeaways from the study, how to keep your hands clean, and how to protect yourself against the dreaded cold or flu. Let's block ads! (Why?)