OSHA Reveals Top Ten Cited Categories for 2017

From the OSHA blog:

Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes.

Year after year, inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline. Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

It’s no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and our top 10 list features lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures. Employers must take these issues seriously. We also see far too many workers killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are often the culprit here.

Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can’t be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse. Respiratory protection is essential for preventing long term and sometimes fatal health problems associated with breathing in asbestos, silica or a host of other toxic substances. But we can see from our list of violations that not nearly enough employers are providing this needed protection and training.

The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and high number of violations for powered industrial truck safety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment. Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known. Our list of top violations is far from comprehensive.

OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. And we urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale.

To help them, we have released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces. We have many additional resources, including a wealth of information on our website and our free and confidential On-site Consultation Program. But tackling the most common hazards is a good place to start saving workers’ lives and limbs.

Learn more about Tri-Lift’s Forklift Operator Training and contact us to be sure your operators are trained to properly operate the forklifts you own, under the conditions you operate. Well-trained forklift operators are more productive, less costly and more profitable for your material handling operation.

Well-maintained forklifts are also more productive, safer and have a longer useful life. Find out more about how we can help you keep your forklift fleet operating at peak efficiency and safety at our forklift services page.

Contact us to learn more at 866-393-9833.

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OSHA Business Case for Employee Health and Safety

We talk a lot about employee safety, particularly within the confines of forklifts. But OSHA has compiled plenty of information that demonstrates it is more profitable in the long-run for companies to invest in health, wellness and safety programs for their employees. Just like forklift operator safety training, investing in other aspects of your employee’s job safety and overall health, your company reaps the rewards of less sick time, improved performance and productivity, and yes, profits. Following is OSHA’s business case:

Employers that invest in workplace safety and health can expect to reduce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. This will result in cost savings in a variety of areas, such as lowering workers’ compensation costs and medical expenses, avoiding OSHA penalties, and reducing costs to train replacement employees and conduct accident investigations. In addition, employers often find that changes made to improve workplace safety and health can result in significant improvements to their organization’s productivity and financial performance.

The following resources provide background on the economic benefits of workplace safety and health and how safety managers and others may demonstrate the value of safety and health to management.

Management Views on Investment in Workplace Safety and Health
  • Y.H. Huang, T.B. Leamon, et al. “Corporate Financial Decision-Makers’ Perceptions of Workplace Safety.” Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 767-775 (2007). This study reviewed how senior financial executives perceived workplace safety issues. The executives believed that money spent improving workplace safety would have significant returns. The perceived top benefits of effective workplace safety and health programs were increased productivity, reduced cost, retention, and increased satisfaction among employees.
Return on Investment in Workplace Safety and Health
  • Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry. Dodge Data and Analytics, CPWR, and United Rentals, (2016). Includes a section on the impact of safety practices and programs on business factors, such as budget, schedule, return on investment, and injury rates.
  • Business of Safety Committee. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). This committee gathers data, prepares documents, and is a source of professional information on ASSE’s efforts to show that investment in safety, health, and the environment is a sound business strategy. This page includes links to a variety of resources on the return on safety investment.
  • The ROI of EHS: Practical Strategies to Demonstrate the Business Value of Environmental, Health, and Safety Functions (PDF). Business and Labor Reports, (2006). Reviews strategies to help EHS professionals demonstrate the value of their programs to executive management.
  • White Paper on Return on Safety Investment. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), (June 2002). Concludes that there is a direct, positive correlation between investment in safety, health, and the environment and its subsequent return on investment.
  • Return on Investment. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). Provides information on the return on investment in workplace safety and health.
  • Demonstrating the Business Value of Industrial Hygiene (PDF). American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), (May 2008). Provides guidance on how industrial hygienists can show that they provide organizations with competitive business advantages.
  • Construction Solutions Return on Investment Calculator. CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. Helps evaluate the financial impact of new equipment, materials, or work practices introduced to improve safety.
  • Safety Grant Best Practices. Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Safety Grants Intervention Program. Case studies on the effectiveness of investment in safety equipment, including reduced incident rates and return on investment information.
  • Anthony Veltri, Mark Pagell, Michael Behm, and Ajay Das. “A Data-Based Evaluation of the Relationship Between Occupational Safety and Operating Performance” (PDF) Journal of SH&E Research Vol.4, No. 1 (Spring 2007). Results of study of 19 manufacturing firms supports theory that good safety performance is related to good operating performance.
  • R. Fabius, RD Thayer, DL Konicki, et al, “The link between workforce health and safety and the health of the bottom line: tracking market performance of companies that nurture a “culture of health.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 55, No. 9 (2013), pp. 993-1000. Companies that build a culture of health by focusing on the well-being and safety of their workforce may yield greater value for their investors. See Abstract and Press Release.
Tools for Calculating Economic Benefits of Workplace Safety and Health
    • $afety Pays. OSHA. Interactive software that assists employers in assessing the impact of occupational injuries and illnesses on their profitability. It uses a company’s profit margin, the average costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales a company would need to generate to cover those costs.
    • Safety Pays in Mining. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Estimates the total costs of workplace injuries to a company in the mining industry and the impact of profitability.

Journal Articles

Michael Behm, Anthony Veltri, and Ilene Kleinsorge. “The Cost of Safety: Cost analysis model helps build business case for safety.” Professional Safety (April 2004). Presents a cost analysis model that can help safety, health, and environmental professionals measure, analyze, and communicate safety strategies in business terms.

“Proceedings From the Economic Evaluation of Health and Safety Interventions at the Company Level Conference.” Journal of Safety Research Vol. 36, No. 3(2005), pages 207-308. These articles describe several tools currently used by companies to evaluate the economic impact of safety and health interventions.

Susan Jervis and Terry R. Collins. “Measuring Safety’s Return on Investment.” Professional Safety (September 2001). To address the challenge of maintaining effective safety programs in the face of cutbacks, the authors discuss a decision tool to help safety managers determine which program elements offer the best return on investment.

Impact of OSHA Inspections
  • D. Levine, M. Toffel, and M. Johnson, “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss.” Science, Vol. 336, No. 6083, pp. 907-911 (May 18, 2012). A 2012 study concluded that inspections conducted by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) reduce injuries with no job loss. The study showed a 9.4% drop in injury claims and a 26% average savings on workers’ compensation costs in the four years after a Cal/OSHA inspection compared to a similar set of uninspected workplaces. On average, inspected firms saved an estimated $355,000 in injury claims and compensation paid for lost work over that period. There was no evidence that these improvements came at the expense of employment, sales, credit rating, or firm survival. See Abstract and Press Release.
  • A.M. Haviland, R.M. Burns, W.B. Gray, T. Ruder, J. Mendeloff, “A new estimate of the impact of OSHA inspections on manufacturing injury rates, 1998-2005,” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, (May 7, 2012). Found that OSHA inspections with penalties of Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities reduced injuries by an average of 19-24% annually in the two years following the inspection. These effects were not found in workplaces with fewer than 20 or more than 250 employees or for inspections without penalties. See Abstract.
  • M. Foley, Z.J. Fan, E. Rauser, B. Silverstein, “The impact of regulatory enforcement and consultation visits on workers’ compensation incidence rates and costs, 1999-2008.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, (June 19, 2012). Reviewed changes in workers’ compensation claims rates and costs for Washington state employers having either an inspection, with or without a citation, or an On-site Consultation Program visit. The study concluded that enforcement activities were associated with a significant drop in claims incidence rates and costs and that similar results may also be attributable to Consultation visits. See Abstract.
Making the Business Case for Process Safety Management
  • Business Case for Process Safety. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). CCPS developed a brochure and presentation to help companies demonstrate the business case for process safety management.
Relationship Between Injury Rates and Survival of Small Businesses
  • Theresa Holizki, Larry Nelson, and Rose McDonald. “Injury Rates as an Indicator of Business Success.” Industrial Health Vol. 44(2006), pages 166-168. Study of new small businesses that registered with the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia. A statistical correlation was found between workplace safety and health and the survival of a small business. Businesses that failed within one to two years of start-up had an average injury rate of 9.71 while businesses that survived more than five years had an average injury rate of 3.89 in their first year of business.
Other Resources

Learn more about Tri-Lift NC, Inc. and our Forklift Operator Safety programs. Safety and training are the keys to productivity, efficiency and improving the bottom line. Find out why Tri-Lift NC, Inc. is your One Reliable Source for materials handling equipment, service, parts and rentals.


OSHA Report: The Cost of Not Protecting Our Workforce

A report generated by OSHA highlights the real costs associated with on the job injuries, who pays them and how this impacts the employee and taxpayers.

Whether an employee is working on a high-rise building or driving a forklift, employers have the responsibility, and what we feel is an obligation to protect their employees from injury. By investing in training and safety, employers get fewer injuries, lower costs, more productivity and an improved satisfaction which often leads to less turn over. But all companies do not feel that way. Many are finding ways to avoid responsibility for providing safe working conditions for their most dangerous jobs.

The report highlights what some companies do to avoid responsibility and what this does to not only the employee, but his/her family and taxpayers when an accident with injury occurs. Shifting the financial burden however does not make it go away. It shifts it to over-burdened worker’s compensation and government systems. In addition, a worker who is injured can expect to make an average of 15% less income after the injury. And while the creating of OSHA in 1970 by President Nixon has greatly reduced on the job accidents, injuries and deaths dramatically, we still have approximately 4,500 deaths every year due to workplace accidents.

As a full-service forklift dealership, safety is one of our most important topics. Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment for the operator and anyone working around the forklift. While manufacturers work hard to innovate and make them safer, nothing can replace a well trained and cautious operator.

Report – The Cost of Not Protecting Workers

Learn More About Our Forklift Operator Training


Improving Aerial Lift Safety Resources

While aerial lifts are used frequently at construction, warehousing, and many other job sites, they can pose potentially fatal hazards to workers. Aerial devices include boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks, aerial ladders and vertical towers.

The major causes of injuries and fatalities are falls, electrocutions, and collapses or tip-overs, such as the one that killed Kevin Miranda in Taunton, Mass., on Aug. 18, 2015. Skyline Contracting and Roofing Corp. was fined more than $100,000 after OSHA inspectors found that the aerial lift was positioned on unleveled ground and determined that the company had not trained Miranda to recognize this hazard.

Learn about the fall-related risks and recommended safe work practices associated with this equipment by visiting the new NIOSH Aerial Lifts webpage. The page includes a Hazard Recognition Simulator designed to help you acclimate to aerial lift operation. Additional resources on aerial lift safety are available from OSHA.

One way to improve your aerial lift safety is to be sure your operators are thoroughly trained to operate aerial lifts, based on the kind you operate and the conditions and terrain you operate them under. Visit our training page to learn more about our training programs.

Making sure your aerial lifts are operating safety is to put them on a regular maintenance schedule. It doesn’t take much to make a safe aerial lift become very unsafe. Damaged tires, hydraulic lines, worn parts etc…are all ways to increase the dangers of operating your aerial lifts. Visit our service page to learn more about our service program.s

To speak to us about your aerial lift safety and service, please contact us or give us a call at 866-393-9833.


OSHA Increasing Fines for First Time in Decades

On November 3rd it was announced that OSHA would increase penalties for the first time since 1990. The new provision is entitled the “Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.”

This law compensates for the “freeze” on financial penalty increases that had been in place for the last 25 years. The Agreement allows OSHA to make a one-time “catch-up” increase to compensate for the more than two decades of no increases. The catch-up increase can’t exceed the inflation rate from 1990 through 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which will be about 82%.

Assuming OSHA applies the maximum catch-up increase allowed, the current maximum $70,000 fine for a Repeat and Willful violation would grow to as much as $125,000 each. The new act does include a potential exception to the increases. OSHA is allowed to forego following the  guidelines if “increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount will have a negative economic impact [on America]” or “the social costs of increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount outweigh the benefits.” This language gives OSHA considerable latitude to apply these fines as they see fit. After this one-time catch-up increase, OSHA will use inflation rate as a guide for future increases.

Employers may have several months to anticipate these higher penalties, but action on safety should begin immediately. Ensuring your forklift fleet is being properly maintained by service professionals and that all your forklift operators have current training on the equipment they operate, in the facility they operate them in, will keep you protected from these fines.

As we have discussed in previous articles forklift operator training and forklift maintenance have benefits that go beyond avoiding expensive penalties.  Workplace safety protects workers, improves morale and can actually help the bottom line profits for all workplaces. Rather than just treating safety as an expense, management should work to develop a business plan to achieve safety goals, avoid fines, and reduce insurance expense and lost time.

Visit our Forklift Operator Training page and learn more about our Planned Maintenance Program to ensure your fleet, and operators are safe and productive. Then contact us at 866-393-9833 for a quote to proving ongoing training and maintenance to ensure they both stay within safe operating parameters.


OSHA’s 2015 Top Ten Citations Announced

osha logoThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2015. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the Top 10 on the Expo floor as part of the 2015 NSC Congress & Expo, the world’s largest gathering of safety professionals.

“In injury prevention, we go where the data tell us to go,” said National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “The OSHA Top 10 list is a roadmap that identifies the hazards you want to avoid on the journey to safety excellence.”

The Top 10 for FY 2015* are:

  1. Fall Protection (1926.501) – 6,721
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 5,192
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 4,295
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,305
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 3,002
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,760
  7. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,489
  8. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,404
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,295
  10. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 1,973

As you can see, forklifts and lift equipment is high on OSHA’s lists of citations. One way to avoid citations pertaining to your forklift fleet is to ensure you’re following OSHA’s regulations regarding powered industrial trucks (lift trucks), that your fleet is being properly and regularly maintained and that your forklift operators have received adequate training, and that the training is up-to-date.

If you’re unsure of your fleet’s condition or your operator’s training status, contact us at 866-393-9833 and we will help you ensure you do not end up on OSHA’s list of citations!


Five Things You Can do to Prevent Workplace Violence

Violence in the workplace often erupts without warning, and can have tragic results. Taking steps to prevent these situations can improve safety in your workplace, improve employee satisfaction and lead to increased productivity. Conversely, ignoring potential hazards can result in employee injury, even death — and legal action at considerable costs to the company.

OSHA has outlined five steps you can take to identify and prevent these violent encounters before they happen. While they are not directly related to materials handling operations, we feel these guidelines can apply to a wide variety of organizations, including your company.

Management Commitment and Employee Participation

As with any initiative, without the commitment of management and leadership, the rank-and-file of the organization will likely ignore any efforts to improve safety with regards to violence. Company leadership must be involved on a regular basis and visibly endorse the effort. This can be achieved by establishing a safety and health committee, and having leadership rotate in and out of meetings conducted by the committee.

Management must articulate a policy and establish goals for the company. Once a plan has been developed, leadership should allocate sufficient resources to accomplish the goals and uphold program performance expectations. Providing resources could entail meetings with health professionals to help identify potential hazards, creating visible signage and using other communication methods to keep workers involved in and aware of the program.

Worksite Analysis and Hazard Identification

There are probably facets of your operation that are prone to producing higher anxiety or tension among your employees. These could be actual physical conditions such as heat, cold, and hazardous areas as well as departments that demand high productivity, or even interaction with the public. Taking stock of these areas and identifying factors that are the least or most likely to create a stressful atmosphere are key to prevention.  Two steps you can take to identify and prevent violence include:

  • Conducting job hazard analysis – Management can conduct surveys of their departments to assess the potential risk of violence among employees. This not only includes internal assessments, but assessments of destinations to which your employees may travel, including specific neighborhoods, time of day, etc. Sites that expose your employees to violent behavior are often outside the walls of your facility.
  • Conduct employee surveys – Employees will often tell you if their jobs create stressful situations for them and if they feel endangered by some of their job tasks. Conduction of reviews on a regular basis will help you identify these areas and create a plan to reduce danger.

Hazard Prevention and Control

Once management has established and articulated its commitment, and evaluations have taken place, a plan to reduce potential hazards must be implemented.  This step includes:

  • Identification and evaluation of control options for workplace hazards
  • Selection of effective and feasible controls to eliminate or reduce hazards
  • Implementation of these controls
  • Follow up to confirm these controls are being used and maintained
  • Evaluate effectiveness and improve, expand or update these controls as needed

Safety and Health Training

As with any program you want to succeed, employees must be trained in order to follow the steps outlined by the company to identify and report these risks and follow up as needed.

This training could include meetings with mental health experts to help identify signs of stress in colleagues that could lead to violence. It also can include training on how to avoid violence outside your facility by taking common-sense actions (such as parking under a street lamp), what to do if an employee feels threatened and even self-defense training. Other training topics can include:

  • The company’s workplace policy on violence prevention
  • Documentation and reporting
  • Location, operation and coverage of safety devices such as alarms
  • Ways to identify and deal with hostile situations
  • A standard response plan for violent situations

Recordkeeping and Program Evaluation

Recordkeeping includes reporting procedures, what gets reported and to whom, and how these records are kept. Keeping track of both “close calls” and actual events helps you identify patterns, areas of particular concern and even certain job functions that might be creating undue stress on employees. It can help you identify areas outside your facility that present a danger to your employees, such as areas of town they serve.

OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300) can help you organize information not only for reporting to your proper internal sources but also for reporting to OSHA if necessary. As of January 2015, all employers must report:

  • All work-related fatalities within 8 hours
  • All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations and all losses of an eye within 24 hours

Injuries sustained as a result of assault must be entered on the log if they meet OSHA’s recording criteria (CFR Part 1904, revised 2014).

Keeping track helps you improve your program, improve employee safety and ensure your employees are operating in a safe and productive work environment.

We hope this summary is helpful to you in establishing your own workplace violence prevention plan. To learn more about what you can do, download the complete “Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence) by OSHA, HERE. While it was prepared for healthcare and social service workers, the overall content of this guide can assist any company, big or small, in achieving a safer work environment for all.