Regulatory Roundup, January 29, 2016

Regulatory Roundup is Texas Mutual’s weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Texas Mutual

Woody Hill takes to the airwaves to promote safe driving
Texas Mutual wants every worker to get home safely at the end of the day. Too often, distracted driving, driver fatigue, speeding and failure to wear seatbelts hinder our efforts. On Thursday, February 4, we will host our annual Safe Hand, Texas summit in Lubbock. The campaign’s core message: Safe-driving principles save lives. Woody Hill, vice president of safety services, promoted the event on Lubbock airwaves this week…MORE

‘Tis the season for OSHA recordkeeping
OSHA requires employers to post their OSHA 300 logs between February 1 and April 30 of every year. This week’s blog post features FAQs our safety services support center fields as recordkeeping season ramps up…MORE

Oil and gas safety roundtable rolls out short-service employee program
From the Permian Basin to the Eagle Ford Shale, the oil patch is rife with fresh talent. New employees bring energy, enthusiasm and innovation. They also bring an increased risk of on-the-job injuries. The oil and gas safety roundtable encourages employers to customize this short-service employee program to protect their employees and their bottom line…MORE 

Chemical Safety Board (CSB)

Public still not safe from West-style industrial blasts: CSB
emergencyLimited regulatory oversight, inadequate emergency planning and the proximity of the facility to so many homes contributed to the severity of the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, according to a report issued this week by the CSB. The incident inspired lawmakers to implement reforms during the last legislative session. Still, Texas is home to 43 facilities that sell 5 tons or more of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Furthermore, 19 of those facilities are within a half-mile of a school, hospital or nursing home…MORE

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Rule to reduce coal dust exposure survives industry challenge
Industry claimed it would be unable to comply with the MSHA’s rule designed to reduce exposure to respirable coal mine dust. Sampling results, however, show industry compliance is at 99 percent. This week, an appeal’s court denied industry’s challenge to the rule, which requires the use of a continuous personal dust monitor…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Combustible dust: Small particles, big hazard
OSHA is in the early stages of developing a rule on combustible dust. In the meantime, employers should look no further than the National Fire Protection Association for guidance…MORE

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

NTSB seeks to lower legal blood alcohol limit
drunk drivingDrunk driving accounts for 100,000 deaths per year. A new NTSB proposal would lower the legal blood alcohol limit from .08, where it has stood since 1999, to .05. It would be up to each state to turn the proposal into law…MORE

UL Standards

UL publishes standard for integrating safety and health in the workplace
The standard allows companies to translate the impact of employer safety and health programs in three core dimensions: economic, environmental and social…MORE

Studies, News, Resources

NATE encourages tower workers to inspect fall protection equipment daily
According to the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), a comprehensive fall protection inspection checklist should include fall arrest systems, positioning lanyards, gloves, boots and hard hats. Fatalities among cell tower workers increased from two in 2012 to 14 in 2014. Safety professionals attribute the trend to increased demand for faster data downloads…MORE

Three 1-person safety teams share their tips for working effectively
One-person safety teams should stay visible and hands-on; implement smaller, more frequent changes that lead to a larger goal; and leave work at work to avoid burnout…MORE

The eyes have it, and technology is here to protect them
Safe workerIn 2014, employees suffered nearly 24,000 eye injuries that caused them to miss work. Bifocal safety eyewear, better anti-fog and glare technology, and the ability to “marry” protective eyewear with other PPE are among the promising developments in eye protection…MORE

4 things to know in the snow
Cold weather can cause a range of health issues collectively called cold stress. This time of year, people who make their living outdoors should take frequent breaks, use fall protection when clearing snow from roofs and learn how to walk on slick surfaces…MORE

“Game conditions” aren’t always ideal for industrial athletes, either
In 1967, the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys squared off in the NFL championship game. With temperatures dipping to 15-below at Lambeau Field, otherwise known as “The Frozen Tundra,” even the toughest players dressed for the elements. Oil rig workers and other industrial athletes need to do the same…MORE

Wellness issues contribute to workplace injuries
healthy livingWhen it comes to workplace injuries, what employees do off the clock is as important as what they do on the job, according to a recent study of French railroad workers. The study found that smoking, sleep disorders and lack of physical activity increase employees’ susceptibility to workplace injuries …MORE

Phoning it in: Presenteeism costs businesses $150B a year
When an injury or illness causes an employee to miss work, productivity suffers. That’s an undeniable principle of productivity. But the blow to the bottom line is just as costly when the ill employee reports to work at less than 100 percent….MORE




‘Tis the Season for OSHA Recordkeeping

‘Tis the Season for OSHA Recordkeeping

It’s almost time for businesses across the country to post their Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, more commonly known as the OSHA 300 Log. To make things easier, Texas Mutual’s safety services support center put together this list of FAQs our representatives typically receive as OSHA recordkeeping season ramps up.

Q: What is the OSHA 300 log?

A: It is a record of serious injuries and illnesses your business experienced during the year. The log presents a snapshot of recordable injuries. It does not include identifying information, such as the employee’s name.

Q: Where can I get the log?

A: You can download the OSHA 300 log on OSHA’s website.

Q: When am I required to post the form, a where do I have to post it?

A: You are required to post the OSHA 300 log between February 1 and April 30 of every year, even if you experienced no recordable injuries during the previous year. OSHA requires employers to post the form in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.

Q: Can I use the loss runs my workers’ comp carrier provides to complete the log?

A: No. Your loss runs may not match the information you are required to include on your OSHA 300 log. Remember, not all recordable injuries are filed as workers’ comp claims.

Q: What if an injured employee’s lost time started in 2015 and carried over into 2016? Do I have to record the injury on my 2015 log and my 2016 log?

A: No. All lost time for an injury that occurred in 2015 should be recorded on the 2015 log. If the injured employee is still out on Feb. 1, 2016, estimate the total number of days you expect them to be out, and record that number on your 2015 log. For recordkeeping purposes, OSHA places a 180-day maximum on lost work days.

Q: How can I calculate my incident rate?

A: You can calculate your incident rate by using this formula: Total number of injuries and illnesses X 200,000 / Number of hours worked by all employees = Total recordable case rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website offers more information about calculating incident rates, as well as a convenient incident rate calculator.

Q: If we have multiple office locations, does each location fill out the OSHA 300 log and post the summary?

A: You must keep a separate OSHA 300 log for each establishment that is expected to be in operation for one year or longer.

Q: We have temporary locations. Do they fill out the OSHA 300 log, or is it just the main location that fills it out?

A: You must keep a separate OSHA 300 log for each establishment that is expected to be in operation for one year or longer. If you have locations that will be in operation less than one year, you do not have to keep separate OSHA 300 logs. You may keep one log that covers all of your short-term establishments. You may also include the short-term establishments’ recordable injuries and illnesses on an OSHA 300 log that covers short-term establishments for individual company divisions or geographic regions.

Q: Our agency provides temporary workers. If our employees get injured on a host employer jobsite, who is responsible for recording the injuries?

A: OSHA requires the employer who provides day-to-day supervision to record temporary worker injuries. That typically means the host employer is required to record the injury.

More questions?

For more information about recordkeeping requirements, visit OSHA’s website. The site includes a searchable database of FAQs.

Note: Texas Mutual Insurance Company offers this information as general guidance. The company does not represent the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nor do its employees speak on OSHA’s behalf. This guidance does not constitute legal advice. The company encourages you to review the governmental regulations and, for specific guidance, contact your local OSHA field office or consult with your legal counsel.

Regulatory Roundup, January 22, 2016

Regulatory Roundup is Texas Mutual’s weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Texas Mutual

Woody Hill explains the benefits of employee wellness Fox 7 News
Woody on Fox 7Employers can cash in on the symbiotic relationship between employee wellness and safety by encouraging employees to get up and move throughout the day, serving healthy choices in corporate cafes and offering smoking cessation services. That was Woody’s message during a Fox 7 News segment promoting this week’s Fit Friendly Symposium…MORE

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

BSEE pilot program targets offshore oil and gas safety
The BSEE will use data from audits and annual inspections to identify offshore facilities that have a greater risk profile. Considerations such as the size of a facility and the production of hydrogen sulfide will factor into the risk profile…MORE

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Industry begins pesticide protection compliance efforts
Hay farmerThe first compliance deadline for the EPA’s new pesticide rule is still one year away, but the agriculture industry has already started educating farmers. By Jan. 2, 2017, farmers and growers will have to meet a slate of mandates, including boosted documentation requirements, which will force them to keep pesticide records on the books for two years and increase public posting of restricted areas…MORE

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

NHTSA urges consumers to monitor vehicle recalls
Every year, 25 percent of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired. The NHTSA responded with a safety campaign urging consumers to check for open recalls at least twice a year and get their vehicles fixed as soon as parts are available. Consumers can check for recalls by using NHTSA’s free VIN look-up tool…MORE

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH updates ‘MultiVapor’ respirator cartridge tool
NIOSH has revised its MultiVapor tool for estimating the service life of air-purifying respirator cartridges. The new MultiVapor includes 66 new compounds. It replaces the previous version, which expired on Dec. 31, 2009…MORE

NIOSH innovation reduces silica exposure during hydraulic fracturing
NIOSH’s “mini baghouse” collected between 79 and 99 percent of silica dust emissions from thief hatches during a NIOSH study. Researchers found that the mini baghouse is especially effective at collecting fine, highly respirable silica particles…MORE

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Proposed rule would help determine safety fitness of motor carriers
Semi TruckThe rule would update FMCSA’s safety fitness rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly basis…MORE

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Three miners die over 19-day period
In 2015, coal fatalities were at their lowest levels ever. However, in the first 19 days of 2016, three coal miners lost their lives in three separate accidents. As a result, MSHA issued a safety alert encouraging coal mine operators and miners to follow best safety practices…MORE

National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)

NFPA campaign gives the cold shoulder to home-heating fires
FireAs temperatures drop during the winter months, home heating systems kick into high gear. Home heating is a leading cause of U.S. home fires, but there are steps you can take to safely heat your home…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA poised to pass on combustible dust
The complexity of combustible dust hazards, combined with a robust regulatory agenda, have stalled OSHA’s plans to pursue a new rule. OSHA has instead pursued alternate methods to address the risks. For example, OSHA revised its hazard communication standard to conform to the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, and it qualified combustible dust as a hazardous chemical.…MORE

OSHA pulls rug out from under slip and trip rule
OSHA has withdrawn its Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems rule from Office of Management and Budget review. Technology has changed since OSHA proposed the rule in 1990, and the agency is updating its proposal accordingly…MORE

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

FRA collects record penalties for rail safety violations

The FRA collected $15 million in civil penalties during Fiscal Year 2015. That figure represents the highest civil penalty collection rate in the agency’s 50-year history. The stepped-up enforcement of safety regulations is part of the FRA’s comprehensive effort to increase the nation’s rail system safety…MORE

People are Dying for Better Cell Service

Working from heights is dangerous. Whether you’re a construction worker on top of a 10-story building or a “do it yourselfer” installing new gutters on your home, you are at risk of falling and seriously injuring yourself.

Imagine spending your day dangling from 2,000 feet above ground. That’s an inevitable part of the job description for cell tower workers. During the past three years, 33 of those workers died on the job.

Cell tower worker deaths by the numbers
Advances in mobile device technology have fueled demand for better cell phone service and faster data downloads. Simply put, we want what we want, and we want it now. But progress comes at a price.

In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recorded two cell phone worker deaths. In 2013, that number skyrocketed to 13, and it grew again in 2014 to 14 deaths.

Communication tower workers are more than 10 times as likely to be killed on the job as construction workers, according to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. Their risk of dying on the job is 25- to 30-times greater than the average U.S. worker.

What’s driving the trend?
With cell phone use skyrocketing, the industry is calling on more workers to build new communication towers and upgrade existing towers. An increasing number of those workers are new to the industry and unfamiliar with its hazards.

Many of the accidents OSHA investigated happened when workers were replacing structural components or strengthening towers to accommodate increased capacity:

  • In some cases, too many diagonals were taken out without adequate bracing.
  • In others, workers weren’t given clear directions about how to do the work while maintaining structural integrity.
  • And too often, OSHA found that the worker was wearing a harness that was not tied off.

What is OSHA doing about it?
OSHA instructed its compliance officers to inspect active tower worksites and make sure employers are fulfilling their obligations. OSHA stresses, however, that it wants employers to go beyond mere compliance.

So, it launched a website dedicated to cell tower safety. It also partnered with the National Association of Tower Erectors, the Federal Communications Commission and other stakeholders to promote best practices. As part of the initiative, OSHA asked stakeholders for their input on reducing injuries and fatalities.

What can you do?
The real work of preventing cell tower worker deaths has to happen on the ground. Employers and workers must collaborate to ensure everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.

Provide personal protective equipment: OSHA requires employers to provide appropriate fall protection equipment, train employees how to use the equipment, and consistently supervise and enforce its use.

Train employees to do their jobs safely: Prior to their initial assignments, it is critical for employers to train new hires and monitor them to ensure they follow safe work practices. Training should include best practices for climbing, such as maintaining three-point contact, tying off every time and understanding that weather conditions on the ground may be drastically different than on top of the tower.

Prepare workers for hoisting operations: Fixed ladders with attached climbing devices are OSHA’s preferred method for accessing workstations. When an employee must climb a tower repeatedly and hoist materials, the industry best practice is to hoist employees to work level on the tower.

Hoist operators must be trained on the entire hoist system, including classroom instruction and a minimum of 40 hours of experience as a hoist operator (see below). Workers being hoisted must have received fall protection training and know how to safely move up and down the tower.

Carefully select contractors:
The selection process should include safety criteria and close oversight of subcontracting. “Checked boxes” and basic contract language may not provide enough information.

Prepare for inspections: OSHA pays particular attention to contract oversight issues during inspections. Compliance officers will review contracts to identify the company performing tower work, as well as the tower owner, carrier and other responsible parties in the contracting chain.

A word about fixed ladders
Fixed ladders with attached climbing devices are the preferred method for accessing workstations because they allow for conventional fall protection. OSHA recommends the following prevention steps for tower workers and anyone else who uses ladder safety devices:

  • Train workers to safely erect, use, maintain and disassemble the ladder safety device before they begin working.
  • Inspect equipment for visible defects and damage before each use. Never use defective equipment.
  • Research the product’s safety history before purchasing it, and register all equipment with the manufacturer to receive safety notices and recall information.
  • Do not exceed the manufacturer’s load rating for the ladder safety device and its components.
  • Connect the sleeve to the correct D-ring on the body harness as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure the ladder safety device’s individual components are compatible.

Regulatory Roundup, January 15, 2016

Regulatory Roundup is Texas Mutual’s weekly compilation of employee safety and wellness news.

Texas Mutual

Work Safe, Texas is open for business
Work SafeJanuary updates to our site include a streaming video on workplace violence; tips for a healthier, safer workforce; and a brief article on completing the OSHA 300 Log…MORE

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Oilfield fatalities underscore risks associated with hydrocarbon gases
OilfieldNIOSH examination of nine recent fatalities indicates exposure to hydrocarbon gases and oxygen-deficient atmospheres during manual tank gauging and monitoring can be life-threatening…MORE

NIOSH says new research supports OSHA fit-testing requirements OSHA’s standard requires fit testing every year and whenever an employee’s physical condition changes, such as facial scarring or an obvious change in body weight. NIOSH research confirms those requirements are appropriate…MORE

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Are there exceptions/exemptions to the ELD mandate?
Semi TruckIndustry requested many exceptions to the rule, but the FMCSA granted few. The final rule allows exceptions to the electronic logging device requirement for short-haul drivers, drivers involved in driveaway-towaway operations and vehicles manufactured before model year 2000…MORE

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

NTSB issues wake-up call on fatigued driving
The NTSB included fatigue-related crashes on its list of “Most Wanted” safety improvements for 2016. The list is a roadmap to eliminating the 35,000 crash-related deaths that happen on American roads each year…MORE

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

PHMSA explosive materials transportation rule goes into effect 1/20/16
The rule authorizes the transportation of certain explosives, ammonium nitrates, ammonium nitrate emulsions and other specific hazardous materials in non-bulk and bulk packaging, which are not otherwise authorized under current regulations…MORE

Department of Justice (DOJ)

DOJ to use safety to bolster environmental cases
PrintFederal prosecutors are likely to start hunting for worker safety violations when pursuing environmental criminal charges to add an emotional punch to otherwise dry, technical cases. Similarly, companies accused of worker safety violations can expect their environmental records to be scrutinized as prosecutors seek to bolster their cases…MORE

Department of Transportation (DOT)

DOT regulatory agenda includes accelerating deployment of technology to reduce crashes
During 2016, the DOT will work with industry and stakeholders to develop guidance on the safe deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles. The agency will also provide a common understanding of the performance characteristics necessary for fully autonomous vehicles, as well as the testing and analysis methods needed to assess them. The DOT’s regulatory agenda is backed by a 10-year, nearly $4 billion White House investment…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Did you miss the latest hazard communication compliance date?
Safety data sheets (SDDs) recently took on a drastically different look. As of Dec. 1, 2015, OSHA requires all SDSs to comply with its updated hazard communication standard…MORE

OSHA to introduce more durable and secure outreach trainer and student cards
As of Feb. 29, 2016, completion cards for OSHA 10- and 30-hour classes will include authorizing logos, a watermark when copied and a QR code for authentication. Trainer cards will include trainer name, trainer ID number, expiration date, and the OTI Education Center where the trainer was authorized. Student cards will have student name, trainer name, date of issue, and the OTI Education Center that produced the card. OSHA designed the new cards to be more durable and reduce the risk of fraud…MORE

Studies, news, resources

North Dakota oilfield deaths dropped 70 percent in 2015
The 10 deaths that occurred in North Dakota oilfields represents a 70 percent reduction from 2013. It is unclear whether layoffs contributed to the drop in fatalities. What is clear is that established companies with strong safety programs and experienced workforces sent more employees home safely at the end of the day…MORE

Using common sense – and all five senses – to stay healthy in 2016
As flu season peaks, the safety experts at State Compensation Insurance Fund in California offer five tips for protecting yourself and your co-workers…MORE

Could an investment in safety pay dividends in the stock market?
Untitled-1We already know safety pays dividends at Texas Mutual – to the tune of nearly $2 billion distributed among qualifying policyholders since 1999. A new study suggests safety-conscious employers also fare better when it comes to stock market value…MORE

Are activity trackers accurate?
Activity trackers worn on the wrist score well when it comes to measuring steps taken throughout the day. They fall short, however, in measuring distance covered, calories burned and hours slept…MORE

Work Safe, Texas is Open for Business

Work SafeHelping ensure workers get safely home to their families every day is the most important service Texas Mutual delivers not just to our policyholders, but to every Texas business. That’s why we launched our Work Safe, Texas website.

The site is a forum for us to share our workplace safety expertise with Texas. Each month, we upgrade with fresh content. From downloadable posters to online videos to workplace safety articles, you’ll find resources that address the unique hazards your employees face.

Here are just a few highlights from the January offerings waiting for you at

Employees don’t always check substance abuse at the door
About 70 percent of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. Those stats do not include the millions more who have fallen victim to the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.

So what? If an employee has a substance abuse problem, that’s their issue, right? Not necessarily.

This month’s featured post from our award-winning Safety @ Work blog explains how substance abuse affects your workplace and shows you what you can do about it.

Site security: What you need to know
If 2015 taught us one thing about workplace violence, it is that no business is immune This month’s free streaming video provides tips for keeping your employees safe.

3 tips for a healthier, safer you
Healthy employees get injured less often. And when they do get injured, they recover and return to work faster. This month, we share three tips for promoting a healthier, safer workforce.

Did you know?
Would it surprise you to learn 60 percent of confined space fatalities involve rescuers? How about the fact that your seat belt is your most effective protection in a crash? Our “Did You Know” feature is full of interesting facts that will change the way you think about workplace safety.

Workplace safety articles
During the 2015 holiday weekend, 11 tornadoes tore through the Dallas area, knocking out power, destroying homes and claiming lives. Every business should have an emergency preparedness plan to protect their property and their employees. Visit this month’s safety article offerings to learn more.

A brand you can live with
Texas Mutual built its corporate brand on safety. But Work Safe, Texas isn’t just a catchy tagline. It’s a vision that drives everything we do. As long as Texans are getting injured on the job, our Work Safe, Texas website will be open for business.

Regulatory Roundup, January 8, 2016

Regulatory Roundup is Texas Mutual’s weekly digest of workplace safety and wellness news.

January 8, 2016

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of EHS-related news. Please share this information as appropriate. To register to receive Regulatory Roundup, email David Wylie at

Texas Mutual

Workplace safety: A resolution you can live with
This week’s blog post features tips for following through on a New Year’s resolution to workplace safety…MORE

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

New newsletter offers tips for protecting workers from the leading cause of fatalities
Semi TruckOn average, long haul truck drivers (LHTDs) work 60 hours per week and drive more than 107,000 miles per year. A NIOSH study revealed that 73 percent of LHTDs perceive their delivery deadlines as unrealistically tight, which may be an incentive for risky driving behaviors such as speeding. Read about it in the inaugural edition of Behind the Wheel at Work…MORE

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Pipeline resilience a crucial element of transportation safety
Between 2005 and 2014, hurricanes, floods, droughts and other “natural force damage events” caused $1,601,313,884 in pipeline damage. Vigilance typically begins with pipeline operators, according to the DOT…MORE

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Mining deaths dropped to record low in 2015
Last year, 28 miners died in work-related accidents, down from 45 in 2014. The figure represents the lowest number of mining deaths ever recorded and the first year mining deaths dropped below 30…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Fines stack up for Missouri warehouse over reporting rule
OSHAenforcement_300pxIn January 2015, OSHA revised its injury reporting rule to require employers to report all fatalities, amputations, losses of an eye and in-patient hospitalizations. OSHA recently cited a temporary agency for one willful and 10 serious violations, with proposed penalties exceeding $100,000, for failing to report the hospitalizations of three workers…MORE

OSHA opens online injury reporting portal
When OSHA revised its injury reporting requirements in January 2015, it promised an online portal that would streamline the process. Nearly one year to the day later, OSHA made good on its promise…MORE

Groundbreaking OSHA developments in 2015 to directly impact 2016 — and beyond
Under a new regulation on the horizon, OSHA will make employers’ injury and illness reports available on its website after redacting personal identification information. That is just one of several OSHA initiatives that will affect employers in the new year and beyond…MORE

OSHA dispatches three teams of compliance officers to Dallas area
quicktakes-backgroundIn the wake of the holiday weekend tornados that swept the Dallas area, OSHA dispatched three teams of compliance officers to help with recovery efforts. The officers collaborated with local officials to deliver safety and health information to contractors and workers. The teams also sought to ensure that workers conducting cleanup activities had the proper training and equipment. Read more in the latest edition of QuickTakes…MORE

Studies, news, resources

Bladder cancer risk increasing in certain jobs: study
Researchers at the University of Sheffield found the highest risk of bladder cancer among workers exposed to aromatic amines, such as tobacco, dye and rubber workers, as well as workers exposed to polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons, including nurses, waiters and seamen…MORE

Technology puts extra layer of protection between vehicles, pedestrians in work zones
A new safety vest senses the accident avoidance signal from modern cars and trucks. The vest is equipped with a radio receiver that triggers flashing lights and audible alarms when a vehicle is too close…MORE

Risk of drowsy-driving crashes higher for night-shift workers: study
Study participants who slept the previous night were involved in no near crashes, while 37.5 percent of participants who worked the previous night were involved in near crashes…MORE

Workplace Safety: A Resolution You Can Live With

So many New Year’s resolutions, so little time. Your partners at Texas Mutual understand you’ve got your plate full with plans to get healthier, read more or learn a new language. We hope you’ll carve out some time to improve your safety program in 2016, as well. To make things easier, here’s our top 10 list of  tips you can start using right away, updated for 2016.

1. Promote safe driving

Transportation incidents are consistently the leading causes of workplace accidents across industries. You should create and enforce a safe-driving policy that addresses common causes of motor vehicle injuries: distracted driving, driver fatigue, speeding and failure to wear seat belts.

2. Protect temporary workers
Temporary workers are critical cogs in America’s labor force. If you invite them into your workplace, remember they have the same right to a safe environment as your permanent employees. Whether you represent a staffing agency or a host employer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says you have a responsibility to keep temporary workers safe.

3. Remember your reporting, recordkeeping requirements
Effective Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA revised its injury reporting and recordkeeping rule. The revisions expanded the list of injuries employers must report to OSHA and updated the list of industries exempt from keeping injury records. OSHA offers an online portal that streamlines the injury reporting process.

Raul Vega (right) of Standard Energy has extra incentive to take accountability for his co-workers' safety. His crew includes his two older brothers.

Raul Vega (right) of Standard Energy has extra incentive to take accountability for his co-workers’ safety. His crew includes his two older brothers.

4. Remind employees that accountability saves lives
In companies that have strong safety accountability, employees understand they are responsible for their own safety and their co-workers’ safety. Before accountability can embed itself into a company’s culture, management has to make it clear that safety is a core business value that never gets compromised.

5. Comply with the revised hazard communication standard
OSHA has revised its hazard communication standard (HCS), which governs how chemical manufacturers communicate the hazards associated with their products. Employers were required to train their employees on the revised HCS by Dec. 1, 2013.

6. Take Murphy’s Law seriously
Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. was an American aerospace engineer who coined the phrase, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” If you want to make your workplace safer, you should take Murphy’s Law seriously. Teach your employees to evaluate their risk tolerance by asking themselves three questions before they start a new task: 1. What are the risks? 2. Do I accept the risks? 3. If I accept the risks, what safety measures should I take?

7. Invest in safety every day
Each year, OSHA sponsors National Safety Stand Down Week. The event gives construction businesses the opportunity to pause during their busy days and talk about the importance of preventing slips, trips and falls, the leading hazard among construction workers. Safety stand downs are a worthwhile endeavor, but safety should  be more than an annual, weeklong observance. It should be a constant, daily presence in your organization.

8. Meet your employees where they are
If you want your employees to learn how to work safely, don’t snatch them from their environment and send them to a high-priced safety conference. Safety takes root in cotton fields and greasy mechanic shops. Its messages resonate when delivered by people who have experienced the unique hazards your employees face on the job. Simply put, safety has to meet people where they are.

9. Focus on wellness

A team of Texas Mutual employees that included President and CEO Rich Gergasko (right) and Senior Vice President of Investments Randy Johnson rode the annual BP MS 150 race.

A team of Texas Mutual employees that included President and CEO Rich Gergasko (right) and Senior Vice President of Investments Randy Johnson rode the annual BP MS 150 race.

Fit, healthy employees suffer fewer back, knee, shoulder and other musculoskeletal injuries. When fit employees do get injured, they tend to recover faster and miss fewer work days. If you want to reap the benefits of a well workforce, get your safety and human resources departments working together to integrate health and safety.

10. Use your free safety tools
Texas Mutual offers a range of free resources any employer can use to improve their safety program. We encourage you to visit us at:


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