Regulatory Roundup, October 20

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA resumes normal operation in Texashardhat gavel

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, OSHA ceased most enforcement actions and focused on compliance assistance and outreach to affected counties. Now, the agency is resuming regular enforcement operations in most of the impacted counties. OSHA will continue to provide compliance assistance and outreach in the most heavily impacted areas…MORE

New information on OSHA’s silica webpage

OSHA updated their silica page to include information on where silica is found and the associated health hazards. The page also contains tabs with information on compliance assistance for the construction, maritime and general industries…MORE

OSHA releases two fact sheets

osha-logoOSHA released new fact sheets on the Zika virus and shipyard competent persons. The Zika virus fact sheet focuses on biomedical laboratory workers and discusses how exposures can occur, best practices and tips for what to do if an exposure occurs. The shipyard competent person fact sheet includes information on determining the safety of a confined space as well as knowledge and skill requirements, and expected tasks for the competent person…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Coalition against increase in poultry production meets with USDA

The poultry industry’s injury rate is currently two times the national average of all industries. However, an industry petition has been brought forward that would increase production speeds from 140 to 175 birds per minute. Poultry workers and officials from nonprofit organizations and unions recently met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to urge a denial of the petition based on worker safety, animal suffering and consumer protection…MORE

NFPA releases new edition of electrical safety code

FireThe newest electrical code from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), NFPA 70E 2018, is now available. The new version clarifies accountability for electrical safety and addresses job planning, hierarchy of risk controls and risk assessment. The code also includes modified definitions to align with OSHA standards and clarifies terms…MORE

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Regulatory Roundup, October 13

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA and ASSE provide protective equipment for companies affected by Hurricane Harvey

OSHA and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) partnered to distribute personal protective equipment and other resources to businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey. The agencies are also pushing businesses to prepare for future crisis situations…MORE

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) 

Pre-shift exam standard delayed

MSHA has delayed the final rule on pre-shift examinations of metal and non-metal mines until June 2, 2018. The rule would require an examination of the workplace before work begins as well as a record of adverse conditions and the dates of corrective actions. Four public hearings will be held and comments are due by Nov. 13…MORE

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC launches opioid awareness campaign

Between 1999 and 2015, overdoses from opioids contributed to more than 183,000 deaths. In response,  the CDC launched the Rx Awareness campaign, which uses videos, graphics, billboards and other advertisements to spotlight risks associated with opioids…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

SAMHSA adds opioids to drug testing panel

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has added four semi-synthetic opioids to the mandatory guidelines for drug testing of federal employees. As of Oct. 1, federal employees are being tested for OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and Dilaudid. However, positive test results supported by valid prescriptions will not be reported to the agencies…MORE

Forklift safety tips

According to OSHA, 35,000 serious injuries occur each year involving forklifts. This shows why it’s important to follow established safety procedures, including wearing a seatbelt, entering the forklift with three points of contact and not driving with the lift up…MORE

Regulatory Roundup, October 6

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.                 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Another push on Voluntary Protection Programs

The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Act was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee after being introduced on Sept. 27. The programs recognize employers and workers who have implemented effective safety and health programs. OSHA has stated that it seeks to finalize improvements to VPP within the next year…MORE

Rep. DeLauro questions OSHA staffing levels

Rep. Rosa DeLauro sent a letter to Loren Sweatt, OSHA’s acting assistant secretary of labor, regarding the agency’s lack of inspectors. DeLauro pointed out that with the current number of inspectors, every workplace could be visited just once every 159 years. She requested that Sweatt provide thorough data on staffing numbers by the end of October…MORE

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Noise and hearing loss prevention

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the U.S., but it is 100 percent preventable. NIOSH urges employers and employees to use resources on the agency’s website to learn about the signs of hearing damage and how to prevent it…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Find resources for ergonomics month

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is urging companies to recognize and reduce the hazards of musculoskeletal disorders. The organization is participating in Global Ergonomics Month by providing educational resources. One of the most prevalent lessons is the 20-8-2 recommendation, which means alternating twenty minutes sitting, eight minutes standing and two minutes moving or stretching…MORE

Crime prevention month tips

The National Crime Prevention Council recognizes Crime Prevention Month each October. Even if retail isn’t your business, there are still important steps that all employers should take to protect their employees and their companies…MORE

Pressure washer safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a pressure washer’s spray can cause serious wounds and other injuries. The agency provides several tips for operating a pressure washer safely and treating an injury…MORE

Our commitment to a stronger, safer Texas

TXM for Texas LogoAt Texas Mutual, we are committed to helping you keep your employees safe on the job. When an injury does occur, we are there with compassion to help businesses recover and injured workers get back to a productive life. That compassion, rooted in each of our employees, extends far beyond the 68,000 businesses and 1.4 million employees that count on us for their workers’ compensation coverage. Take a look at the short video below to see the impact we are making.

Texas Mutual has a rich history of giving back to the communities in which we live, and our employees answer the call to help those in need time and time again. The collective impact of our efforts makes a difference for Texas, and that’s why we are introducing TXM for Texas. In many ways, TXM for Texas is the work we have always done and the partnerships we’ve always had. It speaks to our continuous commitment to the safety, wellness and education of our communities – all with the goal of creating a stronger, safer Texas.

Our commitment to you

At Texas Mutual, we view safety, wellness and education as the keys to success for our policyholders and our communities. We work with organizations that share that same commitment to improve the safety of workplaces and prevent injuries, to promote workplace wellness and healthy living, and to encourage education for those entering the workforce and beyond.

TXM for Safety

Safety is at the core of everything we do. Over the past year, Texas Mutual has awarded $1 million in safety grants for TXM policyholders, our employees created safety kits for cub scouts, and we distributed $228,000 to emergency responder organizations. We will continue these efforts to support the safety of our workplaces across the state of Texas.

TXM for Wellness

When your employees are healthy, they are less likely to get injured and more likely to return to work if an injury does occur. In 2017, Texas Mutual offered $1 million in wellness grants to our policyholders, our employees delivered Meals on Wheels, and we raised $52,000 for the MS-150. We know that healthy employees are safer employees, and we’ll continue to do our part to support healthy communities.

TXM for Education

We believe that education supports the strength of this great state. Our employees volunteer with local schools, we partner with colleges to provide safety-related courses, and we provide scholarships for dependents of workers who experienced catastrophic injuries. We advocate for education and will continue to do so to serve our future workforces.

The TXM for Texas difference you will see

In the coming weeks, we will feature each of our focus areas (safety, wellness and education) here on the Texas Mutual Blog. You can also join us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see our commitment in action. We’ll highlight the compassionate work our employees do, recognize how our nonprofit partners make a difference in people’s lives every day, and share our efforts to make a measurable change in your communities. This is our commitment for a stronger, safer Texas.

Regulatory Roundup, September 29

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.              

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Preliminary list of top 10 violations released

OSHA’s preliminary list of the top 10 most common violations for fiscal year 2017 has been released and there is one new addition: fall protection – training requirements has made an appearance in ninth place with 1,523 violations. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the data during the National Safety Council’s Congress & Expo and urged employers to use the list to look at their own workplace safety standards…MORE

OSHA will announce no new initiatives until permanent assistant secretary appointment

The director of OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Bill Perry, said that the agency will not begin any significant initiatives until a permanent assistant secretary is in place. For the time being, employees will stick to the regulatory agenda and research until an assistant secretary is able to provide a clear focus…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Find out what fatigue is costing your business

A survey by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that 43 percent of workers are sleep deprived. This can be costly to businesses, as lack of sleep leads to increased absenteeism, healthcare costs and safety risks in addition to decreased productivity. The NSC has a free online calculator for employers to find out how much fatigue is costing their company…MORE

Stay safe out of the workplace too

The keynote speaker at the National Safety Council’s Congress & Expo urged safety professionals to take their work home. Fifteen times as many accidental deaths occur when workers are off duty versus at work, so it is important to maintain safe habits after hours. Presenters said that self-triggering, analyzing close calls, noting mistakes and good practices in others and working on safety habits can all help lead to safer behavior…MORE

Disaster cleanup safety tips

Many communities are still dealing with cleanup efforts after Hurricane Harvey. Flood waters often contain many dangerous contaminants, so it’s important to take precautions while cleaning and rebuilding. Read safety tips here: MORE

How to stay healthy and safe during disaster cleanup

Risk SignNow that the water has receded, communities are busy cleaning up the damage from Hurricane Harvey. Take a look below at our tips to stay safe during disaster cleanup, with specific tips for different safety hazards you may face. You can also refer to our blog post, 5 steps to prepare for an emergency, to shape your disaster preparedness.

Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE)

Flood waters are known to carry many contaminants and if water entered your home or business, it may have brought toxins with it, including untreated sewage and industrial chemicals. Flood water can also bring the rapid growth of dangerous mold that can cause respiratory problems. For these reasons, PPE is crucial for cleaning up flood-damaged structures. According to the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), sufficient PPE includes respiratory masks, long sleeve shirts, pants, work boots, gloves and protective eye wear. This will protect against bacteria, spores and debris.

Know how to dispose of trash and debris

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has shared details on what to do with trash and debris from the storm. The TCEQ has also approved 118 waste management sites to help with the cleanup. Certain types of waste and debris can be recycled or safely burned onsite, so it’s important to know what options are available. Click here for guidance on managing debris from the TCEQ.

Take caution with food and water

A natural disaster can leave homes and businesses without power, which interferes with kitchen refrigeration, and flood waters that enter a property can spoil food. Don’t take any chances. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises discarding any food that may have come in contact with storm water. When in doubt, throw it out.

Be sure to follow guidance from the EPA on the safety of your drinking water and boil it if necessary. The EPA is continuing to monitor the safety and health of water sources and wastewater treatment plants after Harvey.

Think about the health of emergency responders

Being the first on the scene, emergency responders brave the unknown to help others to safety. It’s important to monitor emergency responders’ health following a disaster. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a new free app to help monitor the health of emergency responders following a natural disaster or public health emergency. With the app, emergency responders can be monitored during and after a response to determine if they need medical attention or further health surveillance.

Find more resources below on staying safe when cleaning up after a disaster:

Visit the Safety Resource Center of your texasmutual.com account for more than 2,000 free resources including emergency and disaster planning videos and presentations to keep your employees safe. If your business has been significantly affected by Hurricane Harvey, visit texasmutual.com/txmfortexas to see what Texas Mutual is doing to help and to find resources for your business.

Regulatory Roundup, September 22

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.             

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Potential grace period for good faith efforts in silica compliance

The enforcement of OSHA’s crystalline silica ruling begins on Sept. 23 for the construction industry. However, the agency posted a memorandum explaining that employers who are making good-faith efforts to comply could avoid citations during the first 30 days and even receive compliance assistance…MORE

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

New assistant secretary of labor is nominated

Former mining executive David Zatezalo has been nominated to be the assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. Zatezalo has almost 40 years’ experience in the mining industry and United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts has hopes that he will take a tough stance on enforcement…MORE

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

New software for emergency response

NIOSH released a new software platform called ERHMS Info Manager. Its purpose is to track emergency response and worker activity after a natural disaster or public health emergency. Users can create responder profiles, record incidents and assign them to a responder, request information from responders through a form and analyze data…MORE

Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)

Slips, trips and falls training

In 2015, 86 Texans died at work due to slips, trips and falls. TDI has a five-minute training guide to kick-start your safety meetings and help prevent these types of accidents. Topics include proper footwear, good housekeeping and maintenance…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Tips for preparedness

National Preparedness Month continues, and in light of the recent hurricanes, many are wondering what they should do to be ready for an emergency. Texas Mutual’s recent blog post provides tips to help workplaces prepare for a disaster…MORE

 

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