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New Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements in Effect as of Jan. 1, 2015

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA requires employers to report any work-related employee fatality within eight hours and inpatient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours.

Employers have three options for reporting these severe incidents to OSHA. They can call their nearest area office during normal business hours, call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742), or they will be able to report online.

A report must include:

  • The employer’s name;
  • The location of the reportable event;
  • The time of the reportable event;
  • The type of reportable event (fatality, hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye);
  • The number of employees affected by a reportable event;
  • The names of all employees affected by a reportable event;
  • The employer’s contact person and his or her phone number; and
  • A brief description of the work-related incident.

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Keeping Workers Safe in Cold Environments 

Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature (core temperature). This may lead to serious health problems, and may cause tissue damage, and possibly death.

Although OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, employers have a responsibility to provide workers with a place of employment free from recognized hazards, including cold stress, which are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to them (Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970).

Employers should train workers on how to prevent and recognize cold stress illnesses and injuries and how to apply first aid treatment. Workers should be trained on the appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment and work practices to reduce the risk of cold stress.

Employers should provide engineering controls. For example, radiant heaters may be used to warm workers in outdoor security stations. If possible, shield work areas from drafts or wind to reduce wind chill.

Employers should use safe work practices. For example, it is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. Employers therefore, can provide plenty of warm sweetened liquids to workers.  Avoid alcoholic drinks. If possible, employers can schedule heavy work during the warmer part of the day. Employers can assign workers to tasks in pairs (buddy system), so that they can monitor each other for signs of cold stress. Workers can be allowed to interrupt their work, if they are extremely uncomfortable. Employers should give workers frequent breaks in warm areas. Acclimatize new workers and those returning after time away from work, by gradually increasing their workload, and allowing more frequent breaks in warm areas, as they build up a tolerance for working in the cold environment. Safety measures, such as these, should be incorporated into the relevant health and safety plan for the workplace.

What’s in Store for 2015? Notable Items from the 2015 DOL Regulatory Agenda

In late December, the Department of Labor published its semiannual regulatory agenda, which serves as a tentative roadmap for upcoming regulatory changes. The list below outlines some of the potentially impactful rule changes proposed on the 2015 agenda:

Occupational Exposure to Beryllium

Proposed rule      January 2015

Amendments to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard

Proposed rule      January 2015

Defining and delimiting the executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer professional exemptions (FLSA)

Proposed rule      February 2015

Confined Spaces in Construction

Final rule               March 2015

Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amendment to the Final Rule on Respiratory Protection

Proposed rule      March 2015

Crane Operator Qualification in Construction

Proposed rule      March 2015

Bloodborne Pathogens

DOL will end review and issue findings, possible final rule  May 2015

Injury and Illness Prevention Program

Proposed rule      TBD

It is important to keep in mind that the proposed timelines are subject to change. In past years, the actual proposal dates often differ significantly from the regulatory agenda estimates.


 

This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your business insurance policy, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.