Wednesday, December 8

OSHA Revamps Its Regulations Pertaining to Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

On average, approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries occur across the United States each year. These injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to permanent disability, significantly impacting the quality of life for not only the individual worker, but his or her family as well.

According to Lexology, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its regulations pertaining to workplace injuries and illnesses, specifically in regards to organizational tracking.

OSHA plans on publishing its new rule proposals that will revise the regulations that were put in place during the President Obama’s administration. The proposed revisions will be published as Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses and have already been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

It’s anticipated that the new regulations will eliminate the requirement that larger organizations (those with at least 250 employees or more) have to electronically submit OSHA’s injury logs and forms. Additionally, these companies will only be required to submit one form — 300A Form (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) — once a year.

“OSHA proposes to amend its recordkeeping regulation to remove the requirement to electronically submit to OSHA information from the OSHA Form 300 and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees which are required to routinely keep injury and illness records,” said an OSHA spokesperson during its Spring Regulatory Agenda.

Businesses should be aware of the most common workplace accidents and ensure proper safety methods are in place. Here are some of the five of the most common accidents that occur inside the workplace:

  1. Slips, trips, and falls — In the construction industry, falls are the number one cause of death. Around 12,000 workplace injuries each year are caused by slips, trips, and falls, accounting for one-third of all personal injuries. Companies should ensure that views are unobstructed, surfaces are dry, and all spills are immediately cleaned up.
  2. Stuck in or hit by moving machinery — Any machinery — large or small — that’s not properly guarded is a potentially damaging safety hazard. When limbs get caught inside or are struck by exposed moving machinery, the results can be catastrophic. Keep in mind that all machines need to be fully safeguarded.
  3. Overextension and repetitive stress — Overexertion injuries are caused by pulling, lifting, carrying, throwing, and holding heavy pieces of equipment or materials. These injuries account for approximately 33% of all workplace injuries. Especially for employees working in the construction industry, overextension and repetitive stress is a major issue. The construction equipment industry is projected to increase 12% by 2026, and workers need to remain as careful as possible when operating with any kind of heavy machinery. Additionally, handling scrap metal can result in stress-related injuries. The four most common metals used within the construction industry are carbon steel, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum. The various causes of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are improper lifting, manually lifting heavy objects, working long hours with no breaks, lifting too fast, and constant typing and clicking, which strains muscles and tendons.
  4. Fire and workplace explosions — Unexpected explosions can not only lead to insurmountable property damage, they can also cause all kinds of workplace injuries and even fatalities. Faulty gas lines, inadequate pipefitting, open flames, and improperly stored combustible materials are frequent causes of workplace explosions. These issues account for only 3% of all workplace injuries but have the highest casualty rate of all probably incipits. The four types of injuries associated with workplace fires and explosions are primary blast injuries that impact the lungs and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, secondary blasts involving flying nearby objects, tertiary blast injuries lifting an individual into the air and causing them to crash into surrounding structures and objects, and quaternary blast injuries, which involves burns and inhalation of toxic chemicals.
  5. Vehicle-related accidents — Both on the road and inside the actual work area, vehicle-related incidents are extremely common and even more dangerous. These accidents include being struck or run over, falling from a vehicle, being crushed or stuck underneath, or being hit by objects falling from a vehicle.

Additionally, here are some of the most common OSHA workplace safety violations that don’t adhere to general safety standards:

  • Fall protection general requirements
  • Hazard communication
  • Scaffolding
  • Respiratory protection
  • Lockout and tagout
  • Ladders
  • Powered industrial trucks
  • Machine guarding
  • Fall protection training requirements
  • Electrical wiring methods

No matter what industry you’re involved in, always adhere to safety precautions to keep you and each one of your employees safe.

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