U.S. Department of Labor Cites Excavating Company Following Fatal Trench Collapse

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited JK Excavating & Utilities Inc. after an employee suffered fatal injuries in a trench collapse. OSHA has proposed penalties of $202,201, and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA investigators determined that employees at a residential construction site in Morrow, Ohio, were working in trenches up to 16-feet deep without adequate cave-in protection. OSHA cited the company for failing to use protective systems to prevent a cave-in; implement methods to remove accumulating water; properly use ladders to enter and exit the trench; prevent employees from working beneath a suspended trench box; ensure employees wore hard hats; and make provisions for prompt medical attention in the event of injury.

“A trench can collapse in seconds, burying workers under the weight of thousands of pounds of soil,” said Ken Montgomery, OSHA Cincinnati Area Office Director. “This tragedy was preventable, and could have been avoided if the employer had installed required protective systems to prevent a trench cave-in.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

All In One Poster Company offers the following poster with regards to Trenching.

TrenchingSafety-ENG

Advertisements

Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness as Temperatures Rise Statewide

AIO Heat Stress 2018 (WordPress blog)

Our California Outdoor Heat Illness Prevention Poster is on sale for the entire Summer of 2018 saving you 15% of our already low prices. Take advantage of this offer now by using coupon code HEAT2018 upon checkout.

Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness and to encourage their workers to take preventative cool-down breaks in the shade as temperatures rise throughout California. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for forecasts of triple-digit temperatures through the weekend, starting Thursday, June 21st, in Southern California and beginning Friday in central and northern counties. Summer has officially begun.

“During heat waves, employers must closely observe their employees for signs and symptoms of heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “As always, workers should be encouraged to drink water frequently and take preventative cool-down rest breaks in the shade when they feel the need to do so.”

To help employers comply with the state’s Heat Illness Prevention Regulation, All In One Poster Company has designed a comprehensive poster to supplement the Cal/OSHA standard training requirement and the employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), and to serve as a quick reference guide. Remember that displaying posters is a sign of your commitment to safety.

CAHeatStress2015

This poster contains the following information:

  • Steps to Preventing Heat Stress according to Cal/OSHA
  • Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
  • Symptoms of Heat Stroke
  • What to do for Heat-Related Illness

California’s heat illness prevention regulation requires employers with outdoor workers to take the following four steps to prevent heat illness:

  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it and when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.

Cal/OSHA urges workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness.

In addition to the other requirements outlined in California’s heat illness prevention regulation, it is crucial that supervisors are effectively trained on emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.

Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.

For indoor workers in California, All In One Posters has also put together a California Indoor Heat Stress Poster seen below. This poster was created in response to a bill that was signed by Governor Brown in which section 6720 was added to SB 1167 to add protection for indoor workers against indoor heat.

All in One Posters - California Heat Illness Prevention for Indoor Working Environments

On-the-job heat exposure is a risk during operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities. Affected workplaces may include foundries, brick-firing and ceramic plants, glass products facilities, rubber products plants, electric utilities, commercial kitchens, laundries, chemical plants, and smelters.

OSHA emphasizes that while thousands of workers become sick each year from occupational heat exposure, the illnesses and deaths that can result are preventable.

All in One Poster Company designed the California Heat Illness Prevention for Indoor Work Environments to address this problem. Our poster contains steps to prevent heat illness, types of heat illnesses and treatments, and steps that both employees and employers can take to address this issue and create a plan of action.

Court upholds OSHA finding that railroad company violated Maine employee’s whistleblower rights

BOSTON – A federal appeals court has affirmed that Pan Am Railways, Inc. must pay $260,000 in punitive and compensatory damages to – and take corrective action on behalf of – an employee who was subjected to retaliation for filing a Federal Railroad Safety Act whistleblower complaint.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the complaint, filed in 2011, against the North Billerica-based commercial railroad and found the railroad retaliated against the employee, who works in a rail yard in Waterville, Maine, when it charged him with dishonesty in connection with his FRSA complaint. The employee had tried to report an injury.

The department ordered the railroad to take corrective actions and pay the affected employee $10,000 in compensatory damages and $40,000 in punitive damages. Pan Am Railways appealed, and in 2014, an administrative law judge upheld the agency’s finding of retaliation and increased the amount of punitive damages to $250,000. The railroad again appealed, to the department’s Administrative Review Board, which affirmed the judge’s order. It then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which denied the railroad’s petition on April 21, 2017.

“This case is a strong reminder that our whistleblower laws prohibit reprisals against employees who file whistleblower complaints, report workplace injuries and illnesses, or raise awareness of hazardous safety or security conditions,” said Galen Blanton, OSHA’s New England regional administrator.

“A safe and healthy workplace is a goal we should all aspire to achieve. Discriminatory actions by employers, including but not limited to retaliation, can freeze employees into silence. Hazardous conditions can go unreported as a result, and lead to avoidable human and financial costs,” said Michael Felsen, the department’s regional solicitor of labor for New England.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor to request an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Florida Health Facility for Exposing Employees to Workplace Violence

BRADENTON, FL – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Premier Behavioral Health Solutions of Florida Inc. and UHS of Delaware Inc., the operators of Bradenton-based Suncoast Behavioral Health Center, for failing to protect employees from violence in the workplace. Proposed penalties total $71,137.

OSHA responded to a complaint that employees were not adequately protected from violent mental health patients. OSHA cited Premier Behavioral Health Solutions of Florida Inc. and UHS of Delaware Inc., subsidiaries of Universal Health Services Inc., for failing to institute controls to prevent patients from verbal and physical threats of assault, including punches, kicks, and bites; and from using objects as weapons. Another UHS subsidiary was cited in 2016 for a deficient workplace violence program.

“This citation reflects a failure to effectively address numerous incidents over the past two years resulting in serious injuries to employees of the facility,” said Les Grove, OSHA Tampa Area Office Director.

Premier Behavioral Health Solutions of Florida Inc. and UHS of Delaware Inc. have 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

All in One Poster Company has developed he 8-in-1 Healthcare Safety Poster, one of the most important safety posters applicable to the healthcare industry.

HomeHealthCareSafety

This poster describes various risks and safety precautions to be observed by an employee for a healthcare organization which includes the following topics:
· Emergency First Aid
· Fall Prevention
· Patient Lifting
· Latex Allergy
· Bloodborne Pathogens
· Safe Vehicle Operation
· Workplace Violence
· Hand Wash Notice

This poster is ideal for: In-Home Care Providers, Skilled Nursing or Convalescent Homes, Home Health Agencies, Assisted Living Facilities, Medical Clinics and Laboratories, Hospitals, Sanitariums, Institutions for Individuals with Mental and Developmental Disabilities, etc.

 

2017 Form 300A Electronic Data Submission Requirement by July 1 2018 Now Applies in All States

Employers in 7 States Lose Exemption

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that covered establishments in all states—including establishments in California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming—must electronically submit data from their 2017 OSHA Form 300A to OSHA by July 1, 2018. Previously, employers in those seven states were deemed exempt.

As a reminder, the following establishments—if currently required to comply with OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements—are required to electronically submit data from their 2017 Forms 300A to OSHA:

Click here to read the OSHA announcement. To submit your establishment’s data, click here.

Posted by HR360

Final Rule Issued to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Why is OSHA issuing this rule?

This simple change in OSHA’s rulemaking requirements will improve safety for workers across the country. One important reason stems from our understanding of human behavior and motivation. Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will “nudge” employers to focus on safety. And, as we have seen in many examples, more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer’s bottom line as well. Finally, this regulation will improve the accuracy of this data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.

What does the rule require?

The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently. Some of the data will also be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. The amount of data submitted will vary depending on the size of company and type of industry.

UPDATED: How will electronic submission work?

OSHA has provided a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users are able to manually enter data into a webform. Second, users are able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). The Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is accessible from the ITA launch page, where you are able to provide the Agency your 2017 OSHA Form 300A information. The date by which certain employers are required to submit to OSHA the information from their completed 2017 Form 300A is July 1, 2018.

Anti-retaliation protections

The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation, which can be satisfied by posting the already-required OSHA workplace poster. It also clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. These provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA has delayed their enforcement until Dec. 1, 2016.

Compliance schedule

The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years:

The anti-retaliation provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA delayed their enforcement until Dec. 1, 2016.

Covered establishments with 250 or more employees are only required to provide their 2017 Form 300A summary data. OSHA is not accepting Form 300 and 301 information at this time. OSHA announced that it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” final rule, including the collection of the Forms 300/301 data. The Agency is currently drafting that NPRM and will seek comment on those provisions.

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

See answers to more frequently asked questions on the rule.

Source: http://www.osha.gov (recordkeeping)

Department of Labor Cites GA Roofing Contractor For Exposing Employees to Fall Hazards, Proposes Penalties

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has again cited Jose A. Serrato, an independent roofing contractor based in Marietta, Georgia, for exposing employees to fall hazards at a worksite in Birmingham. The employer, who has been cited seven times in the past five years, faces $133,604 in proposed penalties.

OSHA conducted the investigation under the Agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction, and cited Serrato for exposing employees to fall hazards of approximately 28 feet, and for failing to re-train employees who did not demonstrate the skills necessary to recognize fall hazards.

“Employers are responsible for ensuring their worksites are free of recognized hazards,” said Ramona Morris, OSHA Birmingham Area Office Director. “This employer has continually exposed employees to fall hazards by disregarding federal safety requirements.”

Serrato has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Displaying safety posters signify a commitment to compliance. Our Safe Lifting, Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls Poster can be used in conjunction with the required safety training for your employees.

Reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye as a result of work-related incidents to OSHA

Under the OSHA Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness: Reporting Fatality, Injury and Illness Information to the Government – the following is the requirement for injury and illness reporting.

Scope and application.

Basic requirement.

Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the fatality to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor.

Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee’s amputation or an employee’s loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA.

You must report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using one of the following methods:

  • By telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office that is nearest to the site of the incident.
  • By telephone to the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).
  • By electronic submission using the reporting application located on OSHA’s public Web site at osha.gov.

Implementation

If the Area Office is closed, may I report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye by leaving a message on OSHA’s answering machine, faxing the Area Office, or sending an email? No, if the Area Office is closed, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using either the 800 number or the reporting application located on OSHA’s public Web site at www.osha.gov.

What information do I need to give to OSHA about the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye? You must give OSHA the following information for each fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye:

  • The establishment name;
  • The location of the work-related incident;
  • The time of the work-related incident;
  • The type of reportable event (i.e., fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye);
  • The number of employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye;
  • The names of the employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye;
  • Your contact person and his or her phone number; and
  • A brief description of the work-related incident.

Do I have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye if it resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway? If the motor vehicle accident occurred in a construction work zone, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. If the motor vehicle accident occurred on a public street or highway, but not in a construction work zone, you do not have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA. However, the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

Do I have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye if it occurred on a commercial or public transportation system? No, you do not have to report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA if it occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (e.g., airplane, train, subway, or bus). However, the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

Do I have to report a work-related fatality or in-patient hospitalization caused by a heart attack? Yes, your local OSHA Area Office director will decide whether to investigate the event, depending on the circumstances of the heart attack.

What if the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye does not occur during or right after the work-related incident? You must only report a fatality to OSHA if the fatality occurs within thirty (30) days of the work-related incident. For an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, you must only report the event to OSHA if it occurs within twenty-four (24) hours of the work-related incident. However, the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

What if I don’t learn about a reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye right away? If you do not learn about a reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye at the time it takes place, you must make the report to OSHA within the following time period after the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye is reported to you or to any of your agent(s): Eight (8) hours for a fatality, and twenty-four (24) hours for an in-patient hospitalization, an amputation, or a loss of an eye.

What if I don’t learn right away that the reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was the result of a work-related incident? If you do not learn right away that the reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was the result of a work-related incident, you must make the report to OSHA within the following time period after you or any of your agent(s) learn that the reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was the result of a work-related incident: Eight (8) hours for a fatality, and twenty-four (24) hours for an inpatient hospitalization, an amputation, or a loss of an eye.

How does OSHA define “in-patient hospitalization”? OSHA defines inpatient hospitalization as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.

Do I have to report an in-patient hospitalization that involves only observation or diagnostic testing? No, you do not have to report an in-patient hospitalization that involves only observation or diagnostic testing. You must only report to OSHA each inpatient hospitalization that involves care or treatment.

How does OSHA define “amputation”? An amputation is the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut off, amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions, enucleations, deglovings, scalpings, severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth.

Source: www.OSHA.gov. [66 FR 6133, Jan. 19, 2001; 79 FR 56187-56188, September 18, 2014]

 

Reminder: Guidance Available on Avoiding Employee Misclassification Under the FLSA

DOL Guidance Outlines ‘Economic Realities’ Test

As a reminder to employers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division previously issued guidance on how to avoid misclassifying employees as independent contractors for purposes of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Economic Realities Test
In order to make the determination of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA, courts and the DOL use the multi-factorial “economic realities” test, which focuses on whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or in business for him or herself. Each factor of the “economic realities” test is outlined below.

  • Is the Work an Integral Part of the Employer’s Business? If the work performed by a worker is integral to the employer’s business, it is more likely that the worker is economically dependent on the employer. A true independent contractor’s work, on the other hand, is unlikely to be integral to the employer’s business.
  • Does the Worker’s Managerial Skill Affect the Worker’s Opportunity for Profit or Loss? This factor should not focus on the worker’s ability to work more hours, but rather on whether the worker exercises managerial skills and whether those skills affect the worker’s opportunity for both profit and loss.
  • How Does the Worker’s Relative Investment Compare to the Employer’s Investment? The worker should make some investment (and therefore undertake at least some risk for a loss) in order for there to be an indication that he or she is involved in an independent business. The worker’s investment should not be relatively minor compared with that of the employer. If the worker’s investment is relatively minor, that suggests that the worker and the employer are not on similar footings and that the worker may be economically dependent on the employer.
  • Does the Work Performed Require Special Skill and Initiative? A worker’s business skills, judgment, and initiative, not his or her technical skills, will aid in determining whether the worker is economically independent.
  • Is the Relationship Between the Worker and the Employer Permanent or Indefinite? Permanency or indefiniteness in the worker’s relationship with the employer suggests that the worker is an employee. However, a lack of permanence or indefiniteness does not automatically suggest an independent contractor relationship. The key is whether the lack of permanence or indefiniteness is due to operational characteristics intrinsic to the industry or the worker’s own business initiative.
  • What is the Nature and Degree of the Employer’s Control? The employer’s control should be analyzed in light of the ultimate determination of whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or truly an independent businessperson. The worker must control meaningful aspects of the work performed such that it is possible to view the worker as a person conducting his or her own business.

Most workers are employees under the FLSA, according to the guidance. The text of the guidance is available by clicking here. Additional information and resources on employee misclassification, including fact sheets and press releases, are available from the DOL’sWage and Hour Division.

Note: Additional guidance on distinguishing employees from independent contractors for federal tax withholding purposes is available from the Internal Revenue Service.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360