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, April 07, 2014

Safety News Briefs - Are Southern Auto Parts Plants Being Targeted Unjustly?

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.

Are Auto Plants In The South Being Singled Out By OSHA?

OSHA has announced they are targeting auto parts manufacturer's in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia that manufacture car parts.The Clarion Ledger is raising questions concerning whether these states are being targeted because they are right-to-work states. The article reports that:

"Rep Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said she is unaware of any pattern of accidents that would justify the extra inspections. Singling out a specific industry in three states, Roby said, is suspicious. All three states, like most of the South, have right-to-work laws preventing employees from being compelled to join a union."

Read the article here.

As the week went on this issue came into the news again when Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, testifying before a Congressional hearing, used incorrect data to support OSHA's targeting of southern auto parts manufacturers. The Washington Examiner reports that during the hearing Secretay Perez claimed Alabama's injury rate was 50% above the national average, and this was the reason for the targeting. However, the actual numbers from the BLS (which is part of the Labor Department) actually shows Alabama's rate to be below the national average.

Read the Washington Examiner article here.

Final Rule For Revised Standards For Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Issued

Last week OSHA announced that it would be issuing a final rule to improve workplace safety and health for workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work.

OSHA is revising the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard and is also making some revisions to the construction and general industry requirements.

The updated standards for general industry and construction include new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees, as well as for improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures. In addition, the standards adopted revised approach-distance requirements to better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment. The final rule also adds new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs.

General industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment are also revised under the final rule. The new standard for electrical protective equipment applies to all construction work and replaces the existing construction standard, which was based on out-of-date information, with a set of performance-oriented requirements consistent with the latest revisions of the relevant consensus standards. The new standards address the safe use and care of electrical protective equipment, including new requirements that equipment made of materials other than rubber provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.

Additional information on the final rule is available at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/power_generation/. The final rule becomes effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. OSHA adopted delayed compliance deadlines for certain requirements.

An article in Occupational Health and Safety provides and overview of the final rule (click here).

Ten Outdoor Safety Tips For Spring

With the arrival of spring it is time for spring clean up of landscaping around your facility.

An article in Safety BLR provides reminders for working safe outdoors.  One of the reminders points out that even when you hire a contractor to trim the bushes and clean up the leaves, OSHA can still hold you accountable for accidents and injuries.  That's why you should take into consideration a contractor's safety record, and whether or not they have an established safety training program.

Hiring a landscaping contractor who does not put an emphasis on safety and turn out to be very expensive.

Read the article here.

Will OSHA Take Over Arizona-OSHA?

Arizona has implemented a fall protection standard for construction that requires fall protection at heights of 15 feet or greater. The OSHA standard requires fall protection at heights of six feet or greater.  Because of this difference OSHA may take over the Arizona safety program.

The Washington Times reports that:

"An OSHA spokeswoman confirmed that it would be likely the federal agency would takeover not just residential projects but all construction oversight in Arizona. She says that pending legislation in the Arizona Legislature that would modify the 2012 law still does not meet requirements. She also said the agency would rather work with the state to correct the issue than to take over state operations."

Read the article here.

How To Avoid OSHA Problem When Disciplining an Injured Employee

Should an employee be injured as the result of violating a safety rule, disciplining that employee foe violating the safety rule can bring trouble from OSHA.n article on the Managing OSHA blog states that:

"Disciplining employees for violating safety and health rules is a critical component of any good safety and health program. OSHA's recent policy on employee discipline for violating safety and health rules undercuts the use of such discipline and encourages employees to consider possible claims for retaliation. This policy states that employers should only enforce “legitimate safety and health rules" and sets forth a series of possible claims for employees challenging the discipline to consider. The claims provided include: (1) whether the discipline was proportional to the infraction, (2) whether it was consistently applied to other employees and (3) whether it was based on a vague rule."

Read the complete blog post here.

Related past posts:
Bad Choices Lead To Workplace Accidents
Safety News Briefs - Focus On OSHA General Duty Clause
Safety News Briefs - Bad Choices Lead To Workplace Accidents

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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