OSHA Safety
Workplace Fatalities – Not Just A Stick Figure Anymore

OSHA’s Fatality and Catastrophe Report

With my personal love of OSHA, I am frequently on their website. I like to keep up with the changes and new materials provided by them as well as keep abreast of what is trending. This includes reading the fatality and catastrophe reports. Though this report does not bring me joy by any means it does provide a plethora of information to me, the ”safety professional”,  in regards to areas of concern among industry. I can also see where the OSHA top 10 violations come from (see my blog).

After I periodically read the fatality and catastrophe report I ask myself questions such as: Were these workers trained properly? Were they practicing safe work habits? Was the incident preventable? How would I approach training for such issues? How do I think I would handle the prevention of such incidents? At times I try to imagine how some of the incidents even occur! What happened?

This report is not personal but rather a data table. When I read through these reports I can’t help but picture stick figures to represent the workers killed while on the job represented in this report. Much like how infographics represent data.

2014 OSHA Worker Fatality Statistics Cover

View the infographic »

If you have never had the opportunity to look at this report on the OSHA webpage, it used to have only four column headings. The first column on this report is the “Date of Incident“. This is the date which the fatality or catastrophe incident occurred. The second column is the “Company, City, State, ZIP“. This provides the information of the employer of the injured or deceased worker. The third column has the “Preliminary Description of Incident“, or a very brief description of what happened that caused the fatality or catastrophe. The fourth column contains the designation on whether the incident was a “Fatality or Catastrophe“. I noticed last year around February OSHA added a column for the “Inspection #“. An identification number that will be attached to the investigation/inspection case in regards to the incident.

New Column in the Fatality and Catastrophe Report

I have been very busy traveling and haven’t had an opportunity to look at the fatality and catastrophe report in a few weeks. I went on the OSHA website today to look at the most recent update and I immediately noticed a “new” column with the heading “Victim(s)“. Yes, you read that right! OSHA has now added a column giving the name(s) of the victim(s) of the fatalities or catastrophes on the report.

This new information stunned me a bit. Even though this is public knowledge I felt it brought a personalization to this report. As I stated earlier I put this data on the report in the form of little stick figures in my head. Terrible, I know!  In my opinion when OSHA added the names to the fatality and catastrophe report it brought a level of humanity to it and not the “Just a number” feeling it had when I reviewed this previously. Now, as I look at this data I start to imagine the person, how they must have felt, and wonder what their poor loved ones must be going through. This level of thinking really put a different spin on the report and the information it is providing me. As a safety professional, in my personal day to day, I always look for ways to help improve training, awareness and the safety of others. This report helps me drive forward with my teaching of the OSHA 10 and 30 hour courses and how I can use this data to improve and add value to my courses.

These fatality and catastrophe reports are truly heart wrenching. When looking at this report, how do you feel about OSHA adding the names of the victims? Does it make you feel more connected? Can you think of area in your daily tasks at your workplace where safety can be improved? How will you assist in making these improvements?

Let’s all strive to go home at the end of the day safely!


OSHA Update
OSHA Issues Updated Interim Enforcement Guidance

On May 29, 2015, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an “Interim Enforcement Guidance for Hazard Communication 2012 (HCS 2012) June 1, 2015 Effective Date” in response to petitions from the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). The new enforcement document is a follow-up to the guidance that OSHA published on February 9, 2015, and further clarifies the guidance for manufacturers, importers and distributors of hazardous chemicals.

According to the memorandum, the incorporation of additional clarification to the revised Hazard Communication directive “has led to a minor delay in completing review and clearance of the directive”.  OSHA now anticipates that the revised directive will be approved shortly after June 1, 2015. Upon issuance of the Hazard Communication directive, the Interim Enforcement Guidance will be cancelled.

To review the entire memorandum, please see: https://www.osha.gov/dep/enforcement/hcs_guide_052015.html

TDG Amendments Takes Effect

Have You Made Your TDG Updates Yet?

The holiday rush for 2014 is over. Our parties have been held, and our gifts are unwrapped and appreciated. But if you’re a dangerous goods shipper or carrier, you can’t relax just yet. New requirements from Transport Canada become mandatory, January 15, 2015. So, it’s time to make sure that everything in in compliance with the new system.

Back on July 2, 2014. Transport Canada issued two amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG). One was called the Safety Mark Amendment, and the second was the Update of Standards Amendment. Both will have important effects on dangerous goods shipping procedures, and will need to be addressed immediately if you want your shipments to remain in compliance.
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OSHA Denies Industry Petition Regarding Hazcom 2012

Hazcom 2012 Deadline Extensions Denied

In August 2014, nine industry organizations filed a formal request to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) asking to extend the deadline for compliance with the new hazard communication requirements for two years. The new requirements were published as a Final Rule on March 26, 2012 and became effective May 25, 2012. This rulemaking is based on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and is referred to as Hazcom 2012.

Chemical manufactures and importers have until June 1, 2015 to be fully compliant with the new labeling and SDS requirements. While industry has been supportive of the new requirements put in place by OSHA, compliance has been a very slow and difficult process. The petition for delayed compliance with Hazcom 2012 was filed due to the lack of updated classifications available down the supply chain to end users. Many manufacturers are concerned that they will not be able to accurately classify their products by the June 1 deadline due to incomplete information for raw materials that is currently available.
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Ebola Outbreak Puts Stress on Shippers of Infectious Substances

The headlines are frightening – Ebola virus, one of the most deadly viruses known, has broken out in several African countries. Medical authorities are concerned that it could spread beyond that region, carried by travellers all over the world. Laboratories in North America and Europe are on alert for patients showing suspicious symptoms. This, in turn, means that samples and specimens must be transported for testing and verification. How can the medical community deal with transportation of such high-risk materials?

Shipping biological substances training »

Ebola virus is considered a “hemorrhagic fever,” which affects the blood system. Its virulence is astonishing, with a fatality rate of between 50 and 90 percent. Combine this with the ability to be transmitted through casual contact, and the lack of specific vaccines or treatment, and it’s understandable why Ebola is such a feared disease. Therefore, it is all the more essential that transporters make sure that they comply with all legal and safety requirements.
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OSHA Revises Electrical Standards

On April 1, 2014, OSHA announced a forthcoming rule change on electrical safety requirements. Specifically, the changes are for: Power Generation, transmission, and distribution and protective equipment.

“This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Electric utilities, electrical contractors and labor organizations have persistently championed these much-needed measures to better protect the men and women who work on or near electrical power lines.”
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US Report on Chemical Safety and Security Issued

On June 6, a working group of Federal departments and agencies issued a report to President Obama titled Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security – A Shared Commitment. This report is the result of Executive Order 13650, issued in August, 2013, requesting these departments and agencies to:

  • Strengthen community planning and preparedness;
  • Enhance Federal operational coordination;
  • Improve data management within the Federal government, and improve information sharing;
  • Modernize policies and regulations, to reflect the most up-to-date practices; and
  • Incorporate stakeholder feedback and developing best practices.
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US Government Accounting Office Wetlines Report

The US Government Accounting Office (GAO) has issued its much anticipated wetlines report, “Cargo Tank Trucks: Improved Incident Data and Regulatory Analysis Would Better Inform Decisions about Safety Risks.” http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-721.

A Welcome Change to HazCom Labeling

OSHA recently published a brief relating to the new hazardous chemical labeling requirements under the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HCS), which brought the standard into alignment with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The brief outlines the labeling requirements under the new standard. OSHA also discussed an exciting change, that it intends to make to Appendix C, Allocation Of Label Elements, along with a clarification.

Previously, OSHA did not allow a GHS pictogram to be shown on a shipped container label if it conflicted with the DOT hazmat label. Section C.2.3.3 stated:
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Federal Railway Administration Adjusts HAZMAT Fines

In a recent Final Rule, The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) has increased or modified its penalties for hazardous materials violations involving rail shipments.

The Final Rule, RIN 2130–ZA11, reflects Title III of Division C of MAP–21(Pub. L. 112–141), the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012. This Act revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for violations of Federal laws regarding hazardous materials transportation. FRA has therefore updated its references to the maximum and minimum civil penalties for hazardous materials violations in its own guidelines.
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