Regulatory Roundup, October 30, 2015

Texas Mutual News

Texas Mutual enters new risk management partnership with El Paso Community College

Woody Hill, vice president of safety services at Texas Mutual, presents a $100,000 workplace safety education grant to El Paso Community College.

Woody Hill, vice president of safety services at Texas Mutual, presents a $100,000 workplace safety education grant to El Paso Community College.

A $100,000 Texas Mutual grant will fund the creation of a risk management institute at El Paso Community College. The institute will provide free workplace safety training for the public. Texas Mutual maintains similar partnerships with four other Texas colleges…MORE

Flu season is serious business
Each flu season, Americans miss nearly 111 million work days. That equals approximately $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity…MORE

Watch the clock
Workplace injury rates spike during the week following the beginning or end of Daylight Saving Time. Before you “fall back” this Sunday, we encourage you to review these safety tips…MORE

Texas Department of Health & Human Services (DHS)

DHS encourages Texans to work well
The DHS rolled out an online hub for all things worker wellness. The site makes the business case for wellness, offers six tips for launching a wellness program and provides examples of easily implemented wellness activities…MORE

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

New FRA chief to focus on innovation
In an effort to reduce collisions, the FRA recently partnered with Google to create audio and visual alerts near grade crossings on Google maps. That is the type of innovation new FRA administrator Sarah Feinberg wants to see more of…MORE

Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC)

Texas workplace injury, illness rate decreased in 2014
DecreaseThe Texas rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in private industry decreased to 2.4 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers in 2014, down from 2.6 in 2013. The Texas rate is below the national rate of 3.2. The subsector with the largest decrease was leather and allied product manufacturing, which declined 70 percent…MORE

DWC announces “N” listing of Fentanyl patches and MS-Contin
Effective February 1, 2016, prescriptions for Fentanyl transdermal patches and MS-Contin will require preauthorization…MORE

Chemical Safety Board (CSB)

CSB issues recommendations in response to DuPont Le Porte incident
The recommendations include performing a robust process hazard analysis to identify and control hazards, and conducting an inherently safer design review…MORE

Federal Legislation

SAFE Act would protect domestic violence survivors in the workplace
The bill would require employers to make reasonable safety precautions or job-related modifications if requested by an employee. It would also ensure that survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking who have been separated from their employment as a result of such violence are eligible for unemployment insurance…MORE

Houston-area reps push for more pipeline inspectors
The government agency that oversees America’s 2.6 million miles of pipeline cites a cumbersome hiring process and inability to match private industry salaries as reasons it remains under-staffed. The bill would eliminate a lengthy vetting process and waive competitive rating and ranking requirements from the hiring process…MORE

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

AIHA and NIOSH roll out “safety matters” program for young workers
teen workerThe one-hour, interactive training program covers hazard identification, injury and illness prevention and emergency response. It also teaches young workers how to communicate with others when they feel unsafe or threatened…MORE

What drives us to text behind the wheel?
A psychological inability to wait for rewards might drive some of us to send text messages while driving, according to NIOSH research. Simply put, we want what we want, and we want it now. For more on this topic and others, see the October edition of NIOSH Research Rounds…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

NYC raiding job sites in search of fake safety certifications
With construction-related work deaths on the rise, New York City officials have busted more than 20 workers with fake OSHA training cards since the beginning of the year…MORE

Court rejects OSHA’s attempt to expand machine guarding standard scope
The case involved a worker who was killed when a metal piece broke free from a lathe and struck him in the head. OSHA cited the company for failure to employ barrier guards. The court concluded that the machine guarding standard focuses on “point-of-contact risks and risks associated with the routine operation of lathes, such as flakes and sparks.” It does not, however, contemplate the catastrophic failure of a lathe that would result in a work piece being thrown out of the lathe…MORE

The clock’s ticking: What can OSHA accomplish under current administration?
In 2016, the White House will have a new resident. That’s not enough time for OSHA to accomplish everything on its regulatory agenda. Final rules on silica, beryllium and electronic recordkeeping could make the cut. Combustible dust and injury and illness prevention programs, meanwhile, are not likely to see the light of day anytime soon…MORE

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Worker injury rate falls again in 2014
In 2014, 3.2 recordable cases occurred per 100 full-time workers in the private industry, compared with 3.3 the year before. However, only the retail trade, health care, social assistance, accommodation and food services sectors experienced a decline in injury and illness rates in 2014…MORE

Studies, Resources, Trends, News

Underwriting Laboratories researching health risks of wearable technology
Underwriting Laboratories (UL) is researching how heat and optical emissions produced by wearables affect worker health. Standards groups have set a 122 degrees Fahrenheit heat limit for IT equipment that may be touched “continuously,” such as laptops, but those levels might no longer be applicable for something worn on skin. UL also wants to know what long-term exposure to augmented-reality glasses could mean for a user’s optical health…MORE

Pinnacol adding free worksite wellness programs for Colorado policyholders
healthy living
Pinnacol Assurance, Texas Mutual’s Colorado counterpart, now offers policyholders access to community health resources and coordination arrangements with health plans. Insurers like Pinnacol increasingly recognize the symbiotic relationship between employee health and safety…MORE

With OSHA amping up its focus on amputations, here are 6 tips every employer should follow
In August, OSHA announced that it will target workplaces with machinery and equipment that cause or are capable of causing amputations. A mix of employee training, machine guarding and polices/procedures can protect workers and help keep employers off OSHA’s radar…MORE

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