Our Newsletter | OSHA

Warning: OSHA Is Not a Small Town in Wisconsin!

Our Thought-Provoking Newsletter to Clients, Colleagues and Friends 
We are excited to publish our first newsletter in 2015.  As the political landscape changes, so must business adjust and change.  We would value your feedback for future articles to address your most important safety concerns.
Do OSHA Issues Keep You Up at Night?

In 2015, employers are once again stuck in the middle. On one side, visionary business executives are implementing initiatives to find and fix hazards and risks while facing new threats to the safety and security of their employees.  On the other side there are new OSHA enforcement initiatives underway including new recordkeeping and reporting requirements, penalizing non-compliant safety incentive plans, fining underreporting of injuries, protecting whistleblowers, implementing new personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, chemical safety regulations and more.

 

Safety Pays When You Budget for It

Company leaders have to make prudent safety spending decisions to protect assets, people, profits and the environment while infusing corporate goals, values and dreams into every decision.  How a leader commits to, supports and budgets for safety will directly impact the company’s bottom line.  This new year should see results measured against goals, safety included in functional job descriptions, and every employee held accountable in support of the company’s safety culture.  Your assets depend on it.

 

If the Goal is No Employee Injured, Then You Need a Safety Culture Improvement Plan

Every visionary employer should have a current Safety Culture Improvement Plan with Action Steps, Timelines for Completion and Directly Responsible Individuals identified. The Plan brings safety up to habit strength while generating discretionary energy that employees deposit back into the company and is released as profitability, creativity, increased productivity, and loyalty.  Oxman Safety’s proprietary Safety and Performance Management Assessment is available to assess your safety culture and help you keep on track.
 
Our best to you and yours,
 
 
Scott Oxman
scott@oxmansafety.com
Laura Oxman
laura@oxmansafety.com
whistleblower

2015 Whistleblower Protection – Under reporting of Injuries – Willful & Serious Violations

In 2015, OSHA is increasing it’s enforcement staff to focus on protecting whistleblowers, non-compliant safety incentive plans, repeat and serious violations and underreporting of injuries and illnesses.

Federal Whistleblower complaints filed with OSHA in 2014 jumped to over 3,000, a steady climb for the past ten years.  Employers should review their policies to proactively prevent retaliation against an employee for whistleblowing. Fines and penalties for whistleblowing are significant.  Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor.  

http://www.whistleblowers.gov/index.html http://www.whistleblowers.gov/whistleblower/wb_data_FY05-14.pdf

2015 California Whistleblower Laws SB 496  Labor Code section 1102.5 provides whistleblower protections for employees who have reason to believe that their employer is violating a federal or state statute. SB 496 expands whistleblower protections to include reports alleging a violation of a local rule or regulation. It also protects employees who disclose, or may disclose, information regarding alleged violations “to a person with authority over the employee or another employee who has authority to investigate, discover or correct the violation. Finally, SB 496 prohibits retaliation against an employee because the employer “believes the employee disclosed or may disclose information. 

http://www.calchamber.com/hr-california/white-papers/Documents/new-laws-2014.pdf

Underreporting – Giving of safety awards for no incidents/accidents over a specific periods of time is viewed by OSHA as contributing to the underreporting of workplace injuries and close calls.  To guard against underreporting, we recommend that all supervisor safety awards be based upon two factors:

(1) 50% – Conducting specific safety activities (eg trainings, inspections, incident investigations, etc)

(2) 50% – Meeting benchmarked safety goals

Willful and Serious Violations – Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.  A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Both willful and serious violations result in sizable fines and penalties.

OSHA300

2015 OSHA and ADA Compliance

2015 OSHA 300 Reporting & Recordkeeping Requirements

New OSHA reporting requirements are now in effect! As of January 1, 2015, there is a change to what and when covered employers are required to report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employers shall report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident.  Reminder: Employers must post 300A injury/illness summary form from February 1 through April 30 and it should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.

Critical webinar training “OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements and GHS Conversion Update” is now available for registration.


RISKOutside Contractor Liability

Business owners can be liable for accidents caused by outside contractors/subcontractors.  OSHA compliance is ultimately the responsibility of all employers where services are rendered.

Subcontracting out services does not relieve the business owner from liability, OSHA citations or fines.  A St. Petersburg, FL resort was cited for the death of an employee of an outside servicing contractor who was crushed by an elevator under repair.  The outside contracting company had not de-energized the power – a standard Lock-Out/Tag-Out (LOTO) procedure – of the elevator, resulting in the death of their worker.  It was determined that the resort had failed to oversee/coordinate the LOTO procedure with the the outside contractor and that the outside contractor employees lacked mandated OSHA training. OSHA said that it is the responsibility of both the Hotel owner and the outside contractor to ensure  that safety procedures were followed.  Both employers were held responsible for the employee death and were cited and fined.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/osha-calls-for-fines-in-fatal-elevator-accident-at-tradewinds-resort/2150333


ADAPoolLiftADA Pool Lifts for Hotels & Resorts: Warning! $55,000 per Lift Potential Penalty For Non-Compliance

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is targeting hotels and resorts that are not in compliance with ADA Pool Lift regulations. Lifts for the disabled must be readily and immediately available during all pool open hours.  If a guest must ask for the pool lift, the hotel is in violation of the law. This means that the lift must be installed and ready for immediate use by the disabled guest without asking hotel management for its use in every body of water that an able-bodied person might swim in at every moment the pool is open. Each body of water (pool, hot tub) is required to have it’s own lift. If the lift is battery operated, the battery must be fully charged, installed and ready for immediate use. 

We recommend that all pool employees be regularly trained on 1) How to operate the lift(s), 2) Requirements regarding the availability of the lift and it’s operating condition for every body of water, and 3) Any safety considerations that might arise complying with this mandate. 

Penalties for non-compliance can exceed $55,000 per ADA citation by the DOJ.  If you have questions about compliance, contact the DOJ’s ADA consulting wing at (800) 514-0301. 

http://www.ahla.com/content.aspx?id=34158


Be A Manager, Go To Jail!  The CA Corporate Criminal Liability Act

A California law that will imprison managers in work environments for as long as three years for failing to report a seriously concealed danger that might physically threaten employees or consumers.

OSHA Makes Case For I2P2 (Injury & Illness Prevention Program)

OSHAOSHA is making it’s case for an I2P2 standard, stressing that the agency “believes that injury and illness prevention programs provide the foundation for breakthrough changes in the way employers identify and control hazards, leading to a significantly improved workplace health and safety environment.”

It is prudent to remember that OSHA standards hold employers accountable for providing  “effective” programs, training and manuals.

OSHA outlined the following elements of an I2P2 program that can be adapted for each business:

  • Management Leadership
  • Hazard Identification and Assessment
  • Hazard Prevention and Control
  • Worker Participation
  • Education and Training
  • Program Evaluation and Improvement
In short, the new standard will make employers responsible for ensuring there is top to bottom participation in the prevention of hazards, a systemic approach to finding and fixing hazards, as well as a planned assessment.  Visit OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program topics page to download a PDF of this white paper.

ADA Swimming Pool Deadline – January 13, 2013

DOJ

Pool Lift Deadline Approaching:  Is Your Property Ready? (From AHLA.com)

The January 31, 2013 deadline for pool and spa accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is approaching and AH&LA is urging members to review their compliance needs.  AH&LA has worked exhaustively to secure a one year extension and clarification of the January 31, 2012, Department of Justice (DOJ) Guidance. In May 2012, DOJ granted a one year extension to January 31, 2013, and issued two guidance documents related to its interpretation of the requirements for pool and spa accessibility in the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.

According to the current DOJ guidance, by January 31, 2013, all existing pools and spas at lodging facilities must do the following if it is “readily achievable”:

  • Provide at least one means of entry (pool lift or slopped entry) as long it is readily achievable.  Pools with 300 linear feet of wall or more must have a pool lift or entry, and one additional means of entry which can be one of the following:  (1) pool lift; (2) sloped entry; (3) transfer system; (4) transfer wall; or (5) pool stairs.
  • Have the pool lift out in position and ready for use all hours the pool is open.
  • Each body of water (e.g., pools, spas) must have a separate means of entry (there are special rules for clusters of spas).
  • Pool lifts must be attached to the pool deck or apron in some manner unless it is not readily achievable to affix them.

For detailed explanation of the “Questions and Answers:  Accessibility Requirements for Existing Swimming Pools at Hotels and Other Public Accommodations” visit AH&LA’s Website.

AH&LA has raised significant concerns with the current guidance and will continue to work for resolutions of these issues. We will continue to keep you apprised of developments.