Final rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses
January 10, 2017
In 2013, OSHA issued a proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses through the electronic collection of establishment-specific injury and illness data to which OSHA currently does not have direct access.
From an OSHA Letter of Interpretation:
Scenario: An employee is dry cutting concrete in an outdoor, well-ventilated environment that creates a small amount of dust that never approaches the permissible exposure limit (PEL), and the supervisor advises the employee to put a dust mask on.
Question: Does a supervisor advising an employee to put on a dust mask constitute non-voluntary (required) use even though the generated dust amount is below the PEL?
Reply: Respiratory protection is required when such equipment is necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators are required by the employer.
When a co-worker severed part of his thumb in July 2014, a food processor at a beef jerky manufacturing plant acted quickly, helping him apply pressure to the wound and using her cellphone to call 911. Before responders could answer, the company's owner ordered her to hang up. Two days later, she was terminated.
For the third time since the summer of 2015, a worker with a metal container manufacturer has suffered an amputation injury. In each incident, federal safety investigators found that, if the employer had complied with workplace safety standards, the injuries were preventable.
Employee exposure to unguarded or inadequately guarded machines is prevalent in many workplaces. Workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions, and over 800 deaths per year.
While changing an overhead ballast in a light fixture, an employee of New Jersey Medical Center received an electrical shock that caused him to fall from a ladder. He was hospitalized and died several weeks later from the injuries he sustained in the fall.
New year, new rule. As we ring out the old in 2016, we ring in the first major general industry OSHA update since the 1970s for walking-working surfaces (subpart D) and fall protection systems standards (subpart I) when a new ruling takes effect on January 17.1