OSHA Issues Data Based on Reporting Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tallied over 10,000 injuries in 2015, a number based on reports submitted by employers under OSHA requirements.

Starting on January 1, 2015, OSHA required businesses to report “any work-related amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of an eye” within 24 hours. Last month they published a summary of these reports titled “Year One of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program: An Impact Evaluation.” The report covers only states under Federal OSHA.

In 2015, the agency received reports of 10,388 incidents, including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations.

Highlights include:

  • The highest percentage of hospitalization reports came from manufacturing; second highest from construction and third from transportation and warehousing.
  • Fifty-seven percent of amputation reports came from manufacturing.
  • The industry that reported the highest number of injury reports was Foundation, Structure, Building Exterior Contractors (NAICS Title) followed by Building Equipment Contractors.

According to its summary, OSHA responded to 62 percent of the employer-reports for 2015 by asking employers to conduct their own incident investigations and propose remedies to prevent future injuries and by providing employers with guidance materials under the Rapid Response Investigation program.

OSHA responded to 58 percent of amputation reports, conducting an inspection after determining that the hazardous conditions described warranted one.

For more information, read the PDF.

OSHA Publishes Final Rules on Crystalline Silica and Updated Eye and Face Protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued two final rules last month, one on eye and face protection standards and another on respirable crystalline silica.

According to an agency press release, the update to the eye and face protection standards is for workers in general industry, shipyards, long shoring, marine terminals and construction. It is meant to keep up with current national consensus standards on Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices. The rule takes effect April 25, 2016.

Read the news release and view the final rule.

Meanwhile, OSHA also launched a final standard on respirable crystalline silica that seeks to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease, according to OSHA’s dedicated web page on the rule.

The rule requires employers to:

  • Reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift via engineering controls.
  • Provide medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and give them information about their lung health.

Around 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica, including two million in construction who drill, cut, crush, and grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone.

The final rule consists of two standards, one for construction and another for general industry and maritime. Both standards take effect June 23, 2016. Afterwards, businesses have between one and five years to comply with the majority of provisions.

OSHA has a dedicated webpage on the rule, which contains links to the full text of the final rule and other relevant information.

Study: The Longer You Work, The Higher Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Working 46 hours or more a week — on average for several years — may raise the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), examined data from over 1,900 participants who took part in a long-term study for at least 10 years.

During that span, 43 percent of the workers experienced angina, coronary heart disease or heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure, or stroke according to a press release from UTHealth.

The study revealed that for the full-time employees averaging over 30 hours at work every week, the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) increased as weekly hours approached 40, but then decreased again between about 40 and 45 hours per week. The risk rose again starting at 46 hours or above.

CVD risk rose 16 percent when the participants worked 55 hours per week, and by 35 percent when they did 60 hours a week.

To learn more about the study, its scope and limitations, read the press release or view the abstract.

NIOSH Fact Sheet: Protecting Elderly Drivers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a fact sheet that gives employers and workers information on age-related physical and mental changes that may affect older workers’ driving.

Older Drivers in the Workplace: How Employers and Workers Can Prevent Crashes discusses relevant demographic data, citing that by 2020, one-fourth of workers will be 55 years or older, 30 percent of Americans will be 55 and older, and 40 million licensed drivers will be 65 and up. NIOSH adds that 32 percent of work-related fatalities via motor vehicle crashes occur in workers 55 and older.

Older drivers are more likely to practice safe driving behaviors, but physical and mental changes due to age can impede driving ability in various ways. Eyesight and motor skills deteriorate as one ages. Older people are more sensitive to glare, lose their peripheral vision, and have a harder time distinguishing colors and reading signs. Hearing loss is another factor affecting driving ability, as is susceptibility to various ailments such as diabetes, arthritis, sleep apnea, and Parkinson’s disease.

NIOSH recommends that employers plan and manage travel by older drivers. Employers can:

  • Consider whether the work can be done without driving.
  • Set policies that allow drivers to consult with their supervisors to adjust driving hours if they have trouble seeing at night.

Download the full fact sheet.

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