DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Safety News Briefs - Focus On OSHA General Duty Clause

A regular news feature summarizing workplace safety related news.

We scan newspapers, magazines and the internet for safety news that isn't being reported elsewhere. The following are links to safety-related news and articles that came out during the past week. If you have safety news, or safety tips, send them to: duralabelpro@gmail.com.

OSHA To Focus On Three Safety Areas That Are Only Covered By General Duty Clause

At the ABA Occupational Safety and Health Law Meeting in Tucson, Arizona representatives from OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs identified three areas OSHA feel are key issues for enforcement:

  1. Ergonomics
  2. Workplace Violence
  3. Heat Stress
OSHA has no regulations covering these three areas and will be issuing citations under te General Duty Clause.

Read about it in the Environmental & Safety Law Update

Pitfalls When Disciplining An Injured Employee For Violating A Safety Rule

Disciplining an employee, after they've violated a safety rule and were involved in a workplace accident, can result in a whistleblower claim and a major OSHA fine. However, this does not mean employees may no longer be disciplined for violating safety rules. When done correctly, discipline can be effective and you can avoid OSHA fines.

An article in Mondaq points out that knowing the questions OSHA will ask, and having and effective, consistent response to employees who violate safety rules, is the answer.  The article states:

"The key to successfully combating 11(c) claims is a good first response that gets ahead of OSHA's investigation and effectively conveys that the contested discipline lacked discriminatory intent; i.e., the fact that the employee reported his injury had nothing to do with his discipline. The best way to accomplish this is to provide OSHA with written documentation (e.g., a termination report or letter) that the employee was justifiably terminated solely for violating a safety rule. Employers can also do this by preemptively addressing the questions OSHA has instructed their investigators to ask during their investigation:"

Click here to read about the OSHA questions and more.

OSHA Plans National Stand-down For Fall Prevention In Construction

OSHA has announced a national safety stand-down from June 2nd to 6th to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls, which account for the highest number of deaths in the construction industry.

"Falls account for more than a third of all deaths in this industry," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "We're working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls. We are getting the message out to America's employers that safety pays and falls cost."

During the stand-down, employers and workers are asked to pause their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and discuss topics like ladder safety, scaffolding safety and roofing work safety. OSHA has also launched an official national safety stand-down website with information on how to conduct a successful stand-down. Afterwards, employers will be able to provide feedback and receive a personalized certificate of participation.

Related past posts:
Safety News Briefs - Bad Choices Lead To Workplace Accidents
Safety News Briefs - Maine Opposes OSHA Plan For Online Safety Data
Safety News Briefs - Company Supervisors To Pay $450,000

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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