Regulatory Roundup, October 2, 2015

Regulatory Roundup is Texas Mutual’s weekly digest of health and safety news from around the world.

Texas Mutual News

Workplace safety: There’s a wearable for that
The health and wellness industry quickly recognized the power of wearable technology. Not to be left behind, other industries, including workplace safety, are jumping on board…MORE

Texas Mutual policyholder earns Lone Star Safety Award
The Division of Worker’s Compensation issued its Lone Star Safety Award to Rusk County Electric Cooperative this week. The award was formerly known as the Peer Review Safety Award…MORE

National Safety Council (NSC)

New law requires Texas drunk drivers to install ignition interlocks
drunk drivingAs of Sept. 1, 2015, drunk driving offenders in Texas must install an ignition interlock on their vehicles before hitting the road again. The NSC encourages employers to reinforce their impaired driving policies and use the NSC’s free resources to educate drivers…MORE

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA updates 20 year-old pesticide safety standards for farmworkers
The standards bar almost anyone under 18 from handling pesticides. They also require workers to be trained annually on the risks of pesticides. Currently, workers only have to be trained every five years…MORE

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH soliciting volunteers for oil field safety survey
NIOSH plans to survey approximately 500 oil and gas workers about on-the-job hazards. Employers who want to participate in the survey should contact NIOSH at (404) 639-7570 or…MORE

New young worker safety training program teaches 8 core competencies
teen workerApproximately 1.6 million U.S. youth age 15–17 are employed. Inexperience, eagerness to please and fear of asking questions double their risk of getting injured on the job. NIOSH rolled out a training program that teaches eight core competencies that can help protect young workers…MORE

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Former Massey Energy CEO could get 31 years in prison in Upper Big Branch mine deaths
Don Blankenship is charged with conspiring to cause willful violations of ventilation requirements and coal dust control regulations, as well as hindering MSHA enforcement efforts. The resulting explosion killed 29 workers and went down as the worst mining accident in the U.S. to date…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

New system gives greater weight to complex, time-consuming inspections
Under the new system, OSHA will focus on inspections that require more resources, such as musculoskeletal disorders, chemical exposures, workplace violence and process safety management violations. The new inspection system was featured in this week’s edition of OSHA’s QuickTakes newsletter…MORE

OSHA to start enforcing updated confined space rule Oct. 2
In August 2015, OSHA rolled out its updated confined space rule for the construction industry. OSHA gave industry a grace period, but it will start enforcing the rule on Oct. 2, 2015. OSHA also issued a new guide to help small businesses comply with the updated rule…MORE

Fall protection tops OSHA’s annual most-cited violations list
This marks the fifth consecutive year fall protection has earned the dubious distinction. Fall protection was followed by hazard communication and scaffolding violations on the list…MORE

OSHA encourages employers to consider alternative PELs
Most of OSHA’s permissible exposure limits (PELs) for hazardous substances are more than 40 years old. OSHA is working toward updating its PELs. In the meantime, it urges employers to consider following exposure limits set by other agencies, such as Cal/OSHA and NIOSH…MORE

National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)

NFPA 350 bridges gaps in OSHA’s minimum confined space entry standards
confinedspace_sewerNFPA 350 provides some of the “how to’s” and best practices for activities such as hazard identification and control, gas monitoring and ventilation. It also defines competencies for those involved in confined space entry and encourages the use of change management and prevention through design…MORE


Studies, Resources, Trends, News

Combating opioid abuse: The employer’s perspective
Pills White BackgroundMore than 16,000 Americans died from prescription painkiller overdoses in 2013 – quadruple the total in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Employers can help reverse the trend by educating workers about the hazards associated with opioids, requiring workers to report use of medicines that may affect their ability to do their jobs safely, testing for the most popular opioids, and offering an employee assistance program…MORE

Virtual reality makes failure safe, improves safety training
A man struggles to stay afloat in the middle of a lake, repeatedly making mistakes that lead to his drowning. Five minutes later, he finds himself in the same predicament. Fortunately, the man was playing a video game that simulated the drowning experience. By failing in a safe environment, he is better prepared to protect himself in a real-life emergency…MORE

Technology is changing safety: 4 areas to watch
Wearable devices, equipment sensors and smart watches are not new to the workplace safety world. What is new is the ability to connect those data sources and create new information streams in real time. It’s often referred to as “The Internet of Things,” and it creates the potential for new insight and action in managing safety…MORE

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