Regulatory Roundup, February 19, 2016

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

Texas Mutual News

A case study in functional fitness
ExercisingThe typical UPS driver works 12-hour shifts, walks four miles a day and lifts about 1 million pounds per year. The job’s physical demands made it the perfect candidate for an investment in functional fitness…MORE

Texas Mutual grants fund free workplace safety training
Texas Mutual recently issued $100,000 grants to El Paso Community College and Midland College. The grants will fund free workplace safety training for the public. Texas Mutual has issued $4.5 million in safety education grants through its partnerships with Texas colleges.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

DOT proposes national safety plan for public transit systems
The plan would require public transit system operators to adopt a safety management system, as well as have their plans approved by a board of directors, or equivalent, and perform an annual review and update of the plan…MORE

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA proposes 18-month compliance extension on hazardous emissions rule
Oil WorkersThe EPA initially required refineries to comply with its hazardous emissions rule by February. 1, 2016. The 18-month extension would give refineries time to install the equipment needed to comply with emissions limits during periods of start-up, shutdown and maintenance or inspection, as well as ensure safety requirements associated with those installations are met. Refineries that need to undertake capital projects to come into compliance with the requirements can request a 12-month extension…MORE

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

FDA issues recommendations to reduce the risk for Zika virus blood transmission
If you’ve been to areas with active Zika virus transmission, potentially been exposed to the virus or been infected with Zika, the FDA recommends you defer donating blood. While there have been no reports to date of Zika virus entering the U.S. blood supply, the risk of blood transmission is considered likely…MORE

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH recommends employers treat e-cigarettes like tobacco products
The laws around smoking in the workplace are clear, well-established and indisputable. But e-cigarettes, unlike their traditional tobacco counterparts, create a cloud of uncertainty for employers. They’re not regulated, and we haven’t fully defined their health risks. In fact, consuming an e-cigarette isn’t even called smoking; it’s called vaping. In the absence of specific guidance, NIOSH recommends employers implement e-cigarette policies that mimic their policies on tobacco products…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA invites oil and gas industry to ‘step up’ safety
This week, OSHA launched a national campaign to promote safety in the oil and gas industry. Campaign activities will include site inspections and safety training. Resources include a website that features toolbox educational materials on hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing, tank gauging and other common tasks. Oil and gas workers have one of the highest on-the-job death risks in the country, with 142 workers killed in 2014…MORE

Compliance assistance, not fines, should be priority, senators tell OSHA
OSHAenforcement_300pxHave you ever been pulled over because you had a burned-out headlight? Did you get a warning, fix the light and learn a valuable lesson? That, in essence, is how Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) would like to see OSHA’s interactions with employers go. In a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Lankford urged OSHA to redirect resources from back-end fines to up-front compliance assistance. Texas employers have access to free compliance assistance through the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Consultation program…MORE

Cell tower worker deaths fall 75 percent
In October 2014, OSHA and the Federal Communications Commission joined forces to reduce the alarming trend in cell tower worker deaths. If statistics are any indication, the partnership appears to be working just as OSHA hoped. Cell tower worker deaths fell from 12 in 2014 to three in 2015…MORE

You can’t subcontract safety: OSHA, FCC host workshop on tower climbers
People are dying for faster cell service – literally. Between 2011 and 2015, 36 workers died in communication tower-related incidents, according to OSHA. The industry’s reliance on subcontractors, some of whom may not be qualified to climb cell towers, is at least partially to blame for the issue, according to stakeholders who participated in a recent OSHA workshop. Furthermore, stakeholders noted towers should include more platforms and dedicated tie-off points…MORE

OSHA issues new guidelines on preventing workplace violence in health care settings
Police line-victimHealth care workers account for 20 percent of workplace injuries across industries but 50 percent of workplace violent incidents. To reverse the trend, OSHA issued new guidelines that update its 1996 and 2004 voluntary guidelines for preventing workplace violence among health care and social service workers…MORE


Studies, Resources, Trends, News

FilterSense offers new intelligent controllers for dust collector operators
The controllers integrate and display the status of the process parameters, such as filter condition, DP, temperature, air flow, hopper level fan amps and solenoids. The display means operators won’t need to make visual bag house rounds…MORE

Company offers alternative to OSHA-approved gloves
OSHA requires technicians working on high-voltage hybrids and EVs to wear class 0 gloves. Some technicians say the bulky gloves hinder the tactile sensitivity they need to do their jobs. An Illinois-based company offers an alternative glove approved by the American National Standards Institute…MORE

Motor vehicle deaths increase by largest percentage in 50 years
Investigating a car wreckThe National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads in 2015. That’s an 8 percent jump over 2014 and the largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years. A stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are likely at the core of the trend, according to the NSC. Simply put, Americans logged more miles behind the wheel in 2015 because driving was more affordable…MORE

Studies tie work stress to unhealthy lifestyles
Overworked and stressed-out employees may turn to unhealthy habits to find comfort or cope, and they may lack the time and resources for exercise and cooking meals, according to two new studies. One study noted work health programs could be more effective if they helped lower stress… MORE

Do you know your state’s distracted driving laws?
Did you know in Texas, it’s illegal to use a hand-held phone or send a text message in a school zone? Or that our neighbors, Oklahoma, passed a law banning texting behind the wheel for all ages? Learn the distracted driving laws in your state at…MORE



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