Stakeholders Assess OSHA in Congressional Hearing, Offer Criticisms and Recommendations

Late last month, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections conducted a hearing, “A More Effective and Collaborative OSHA: A View from the Stakeholders” to help evaluate and improve OSHA’s performance.

Speaking at the hearing was Mr. Peter Gerstenberger, Senior Advisor for Safety, Standards & Compliance for the Tree Care Industry Association. Mr. Gerstenberger lamented the absence of a safety standard in his field, especially when OSHA had already been asked to develop such a standard in 1998.

Mr. J. Gary Hill, 2018 Chairman of the Construction Safety and Health Committee of the National Association of Home Builders, spoke of how OSHA has unleashed a ‘regulatory tsunami’ on the construction industry. He also noted the agencies’ heavy-handed enforcement practices and procedures. OSHA should be a “partner, not an adversary,” Mr. Hill added. Similarly, Mr. Eric Hobbs, a shareholder in the law firm Ogletree, Deakins, asked that OSHA collaborate more with employers.

Dr. David Michaels, former OSHA administrator, reiterated the need for regulations. “Forgotten in this conversation [on regulations] is the cost to workers and their families of not creating these protections. These costs are enormous, and they are paid not just in dollars. They are paid in lives.” Dr. Michaels cited research indicating that there is “no evidence of any cost to inspected companies complying with regulations.” Such compliance, he says, actually reduces medical expenses and lost wages.

Other recommendations include making OSHA’s website more user-friendly. View an archived webcast or read the transcripts from the four speakers.

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Lawmakers to OSHA: Why Did You Ignore a GAO Report on Poultry and Meat Plant Hazards?

In a late-January letter to Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta, four lawmakers asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to explain why it rejected a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that uncovered safety and health issues in meat and poultry plants.

The 2017 GAO report stated, among other findings, that workers in these facilities are often delayed or denied access to the bathroom. OSHA denied the problem, writing that they [OSHA officials] do not believe lack of bathroom access is a widespread problem in the industry.

The four lawmakers also pointed out that upon the GOA’s recommendation to conduct offsite interviews, OSHA noted that such additional offsite interviews….is challenging in terms of witness cooperation, resources, and the safety of CSHOs. In saying so, according to the lawmakers, OSHA had ignored its longstanding practice of holding such interviews, which help employees who fear retaliation speak up.

The letter ends asking for OSHA’s explanations, commitment, and specific points of action in the future. Read the full letter.

Updated Report: 275 Deaths from Caught-in/between Incidents in Construction

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) published a Quarterly Data Report on deaths and injuries from being caught or crushed in collapsing materials or being caught or compressed by objects and equipment.

Key findings of the report include:

  • From 2011 to 2015, caught-in/between incidents claimed the lives of 275 construction workers. This was the most in a major industry.
  • Around sixty-six percent of the deaths from 2011 to 2015 were attributed to being caught or crushed in collapsing materials while around 93 percent of all nonfatal caught-in/between injuries were due to equipment or objects.
  • Most of the fatalities involved ironworkers, while the injuries afflicted helpers the most.
  • Older workers had a higher risk of caught-in/between deaths, while employees under the age of 20 faced greater dangers from both fatal and nonfatal caught-in/between injuries.

Download the full CPWR report

With No Budget and Facing Closure, CSB Lists its Accomplishments

Just like last year, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) once again faces potential closure in light of the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019. And as part of its budget justification efforts, the CSB published a Safety Spotlight that enumerates its success in chemical safety promotion in the United States since 1998, the year it was established.

According to the two-page document, the CSB has issued 80 safety recommendations to 22 different state governments stemming from 27 CSB investigations. Currently, only six of these investigations still have open recommendations issued to state governments.” Of its many accomplishments, the CSB singled out four wherein state governments had adopted its recommendations in various regulations.

Read the CSB’s Safety Spotlight and download the CSB’s Budget Justification document.

A Look Inside STOP®

The award-winning DuPont™ STOP® program provides a path to workplace safety excellence by making safe behavior and workplace conditions part of the work culture – thus preventing injuries and incidents.

See for yourself how DuPont helps to provide people with the safest workplace possible with A Look Inside STOP®. During this one-day workshop, a certified STOP® trainer - who has hands-on experience implementing STOP® - will outline why the STOP® principles work, how the programs are structured and how it can be rolled out in your workplace.

Who Should Attend?

  • Safety personnel, safety committee members and operations managers who are new to the STOP® offering and would like to understand how the STOP® principles can revolutionize how employees look at safety.
  • Those who want to understand how improving employee observation and communication skills can not only reduce injuries, but also improve quality and productivity.
  • Those who haven't looked at STOP® for a few years. Come and see what's new!

This complimentary workshop includes lunch and refreshments. It runs from 8:30am-2:00pm. View the full agenda.

Register for a city near you:
Pittsburgh, PA – April 17th
Chicago, IL – May 15th
Denver, CO – June 26th
See other dates and cities.

Can’t make it to a workshop? Register for a free webinar.

Ten Objectives of National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Manufacturing

The Manufacturing Sector Council of the National Occupational Research Agenda published its agenda, highlighting ten objectives that seek to promote, sustain, and improve safety in manufacturing industries.

In no particular order or priority, the ten objectives are as follows:

  • Reduce the burden of acute and chronic occupational illnesses, injuries and fatalities in manufacturing by a) enhancing knowledge of occupational safety and health hazards and their effects, and b) developing effective interventions to reduce exposure to known occupational safety and health hazards.
  • Improve workplace safety to reduce traumatic injuries and fatalities in the manufacturing sector.
  • Contribute to the reduction of chronic diseases such as respiratory diseases, occupational cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurologic diseases and adverse reproductive outcomes.
  • Contribute to the reduction of occupational musculoskeletal disorders in manufacturing.
  • Contribute to the reduction of occupational hearing loss in manufacturing.
  • Improve surveillance of work-related hazards, exposures and illnesses in the manufacturing industry.
  • Examine emerging risks from new technologies and explore ways in which new technologies can advance occupational safety and health in manufacturing.
  • Improve occupational safety and health for workers in non-traditional employment arrangements.
  • Advance capacity-building and educational efforts in manufacturing.
  • Develop mechanisms for effective translation of research into practice in the manufacturing sector.

The Manufacturing Sector Council is one of the ten councils based in turn on the ten sectors categorized under the North American Industry Classification System. The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is a partnership program to stimulate innovative research and workplace interventions. It is carried out by the multi-stakeholder councils, where participants share and learn from each other’s experiences and expertise.

Download the full agenda and learn more about NORA and the Councils.

New WHO Commission To Tackle Heart and Lung Disease, Other Noncommunicable Diseases

The World Health Organization has launched a new high-level commission that will propose bold and innovative solutions that can prevent and control noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like heart and lung disease, cancers, and diabetes.

The commission is co-chaired by the presidents of Uruguay and Sri Lanka, by Russia’s healthcare minister, and a former Federal Minister of Pakistan.

According to WHO, seven in 10 deaths globally every year are from NCDs, the main contributors to which are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. More than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 70 years die from NCDs annually. Low- and lower-middle income countries are increasingly affected, with half of premature deaths from NCDs occurring in those countries.

Read the WHO press release for further details.

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