Safety and Health Brief – May, 2014

Welcome to the Safety and Health Brief, which summaries several occupational safety and health initiatives through May, 2014.

OSHA will hold an informal public hearing on May 19 to discuss the agency’s proposed rule to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement and the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.  The purpose of the hearing is to gather additional information related to whether OSHA should extend the requirement by three years or not at all.

“We Can Do This!” is a new seven-minute video developed by OSHA that explains how injury and illness prevention programs enhance workplace safety and health.  An injury and illness prevention program is a systematic process that employers can use to find and fix workplace hazards before workers get hurt.  Instituting these programs helps transform workplace culture and can lead to higher productivity, reduced turnover, reduced costs and greater worker satisfaction.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death on the job, accounting form more than 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2012.  The Department of Transportation has now launched a national campaign to stop texting while driving and other distracted driving hazards.  It is a violation of the OSH Act if employers require workers to text while driving, create incentives that encourage or condone it, or structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.

Two new OSHA resources, “Hazard Communication: Small Entity Compliance Guide for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals” and a new fact sheet, “Steps to an Effective Hazardous Communication Program for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals”, offer employers clear steps to create an effective hazard communication program – including a sample program and a quick guide to hazard communication training.

OSHA has issued its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting 2014 program.  The plan directs enforcement resources to workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.  The SST program is one of OSHA’s main programmed inspection plans for high-hazard, non-construction workplaces with 20 or more workers.

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