Regulatory Roundup, March 3, 2016

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

In this 60-second video, Texas Mutual’s Woody Hill explains how to steer clear of the five leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. For more 60-second driver safety videos, visit worksafetexas.com.

Texas Mutual news
My car does what?
Those fancy safety-related bells and whistles on new vehicles are designed to remove human error from the driving equation. Still, they’re no substitute for safe-driving principles such as buckling up, controlling your speed and avoiding distractions…MORE
Department of Labor (DOL)

DOL suit against employer highlights injury reporting practices
The DOL is suing a Pennsylvania employer it claims retaliated against two employees for reporting workplace injuries. The employer requires employees to immediately report workplace injuries. Both employees claim they did not comply with the requirement because their symptoms did not develop until several days after their injuries…MORE

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Proposed risk management program changes would boost process safety: EPA
The changes, which are designed to improve chemical process safety and protect first responders, would require coordination between facilities and local emergency response agencies in emergency planning and preparedness, according to the EPA. …MORE

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

DOT bans e-cigarettes on flights
It doesn’t matter whether you call it smoking or vaping, the DOT calls it illegal. The agency unveiled a new rule this week that prohibits passengers from using e-cigarettes on all domestic and international flights that travel in, to and from the United States. Studies have shown e-cigarette aerosol contains harmful chemicals that could affect other passengers…MORE

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

FRA treads lightly on railroads over hazmat violations: report
trainThe FRA routinely applies only modest civil penalties for hazardous materials safety violations, even though inspectors request penalties only for serious or repeated infractions, according to a report by the Department of Transportation’s inspector general. Although the FRA processes hundreds of safety violations each year, it appears that not a single case has been referred for criminal investigation…MORE


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Truck, bus inspections, enforcement saved 500 lives in 2012
Commercial vehicle roadside safety inspection and traffic enforcement programs saved 472 lives in 2012. Since 2001, these programs have saved more than 7,000 lives, according to the FMCSA…MORE

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

New NIOSH Web page elevates aerial lift safety
A New Jersey employer failed to stress the importance of setting aerials lifts up on level ground. That training oversight cost a worker his life when the lift he was using tipped over. A new NIOSH Web page offers resources for setting up and using aerial lifts safely…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Employers brace for OSHA whistleblowing app
From setting up ladders properly to gauging the risk of heat stress, apps are a powerful tool for workplace safety advocates. Now, developers are leveraging technology to make it easy for employees to report unsafe working conditions to OSHA. Here’s how it would work: The employee would take a picture of the questionable condition and answer a series of questions. The app would then transmit the information to the local OSHA field office…MORE

What to expect from OSHA in 2016
OSHA will increase its fee structure between 80 and 90 percent this spring, according Dr. David Michaels, head of OSHA. Speaking at an Association of Energy Service Companies meeting, Dr. Michaels also said OSHA’s walking working surfaces and personal fall protection systems final rule is far from dead despite some media reports to the contrary. Michaels said OSHA will likely release the final rule before he leaves office at the conclusion of the Obama administration…MORE

New rapid response investigation requires employers to provide more details about workplace accidents
OSHA reporting ruleIn an effort to manage the influx of reports OSHA has received under its revised injury and illness reporting requirements, the agency is now triaging incident reports. The goal is to determine whether to conduct an onsite inspection or gather more information via a rapid response investigation (RRI). The RRI requests more details than OSHA’s traditional phone and fax inquiry…MORE

The long arm of OSHA reaches all the way to the wild west
There are no specific OSHA regulations addressing firearms used in wild west theme park shows. But the general duty clause was all the ammunition OSHA needed to cite a New Jersey park after an employee broke protocol, loaded real ammunition instead of blanks and shot a co-worker…MORE

OSHA addresses hazards of purging hydrogen gas-cooled electric generators
Those hazards include flash fires and dangers related to working in confined spaces. OSHA requires employers to ensure hydrogen gas is purged completely before workers perform maintenance on generators. It also recommends placing detectors in areas that may accumulate hydrogen gas, testing atmospheric conditions in permit spaces before allowing entry, and establishing ignition control procedures…MORE

Studies, Resources, Trends, News

New report shows traffic crashes cost employers $47.4 billion in 2013
Investigating a car wreckA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report notes that direct crash-related expenses include medical care, liability, lost productivity and property damage. The study showed that employers could control costs by promoting safe driving habits, including seat belt usage and the elimination of speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving, whether or not employees are on the clock…MORE

Studies weighs how human behaviors affect self-driving cars
How much people trust technology and what type of driving alerts they respond to may have as much or more to do with the success of autonomous vehicles than technological, legal and security concerns, according to two new studies. One study suggests drivers will respond best to verbal prompts, as opposed to sounds or visual displays, alerting them to driving conditions and the state of the vehicle…MORE

E-cigarette explodes, knocks woman’s teeth loose, destroys car
The woman parked her car outside a friend’s house to use the e-cigarette and charge her car. When she pressed the device’s button, it exploded, loosening her teeth and flying from her hand…MORE

Hearing conservation: Listen up
earplugsSince 2004, about 125,000 U.S. workers have reported “significant, permanent hearing loss” associated with their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employers should monitor area noise regularly and use engineering and administrative controls before handing out hearing protection. One of the most effective engineering controls is buying quieter equipmentMORE

Grain entrapments decline in 2015: report
Grain bin entrapments and other confined space incidents on farms declined 34 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to a Purdue University study. The 47 incidents in 2015 marked the lowest number since 2006…MORE

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