$4.6M available in Susan Harwood grants to help identify and prevent workplace hazards for high-risk, vulnerable workers
Harwood grants help put safety and health information directly into the hands of vulnerable workers.
OSHA is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. A total of $4.6 million is available for nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations and colleges and universities.
The grant program supports hands-on training and educational programs and development of materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; temporary workers and workers who are underserved, or have limited English proficiency.
Funds are available through two types of grants — Targeted Topic Training and Capacity Building. Applications must be submitted electronically by June 28, 2016. For more information about the program and application process, see OSHA's list of frequently asked questions and read the news release.
National Safety Stand-Down events reach thousands with the message to stop falls in construction
From May 2-6, employers, workers and safety professionals from across the country joined OSHA and partners in the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls. This is the third year OSHA has hosted the stand-down.
More than 1,900 workers participated in a stand-down event at the construction site of the MGM Casino in Oxon Hill, Md.
On Tuesday, the site of the new MGM Casino at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., dedicated time to fall prevention training and the importance of safety on such a large worksite. Whiting-Turner Construction hosted Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels, local officials and 1,900 employees at the construction site which is expected to be complete in September 2016.
In Washington, D.C., at fairgrounds near the Nationals baseball stadium, Acting Director of Construction Dean McKenzie, OSHA Regional Director Rich Mendelson and more than 650 workers stopped work on Thursday afternoon to talk about falls. The event included fall protection and rescue demonstrations, vendor exhibits and safety awards.
Workers participated in hundreds of stand-down events at job sites nationwide. For more information, visit the National Safety Stand-Down webpage.
OSHA partners with builders, trade association and union to protect workers at Milwaukee construction site
OSHA has entered into a strategic partnershipagreement with Gilbane Building Company/CG Schmidt Joint Venture, the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council and AFL/CIO to protect workers during the construction of a 32-story tower in downtown Milwaukee. Goals of the partnership include promoting a cooperative relationship between labor and management and encouraging employee participation to identify, prevent and correct hazards. The partnership agreement was signed during the National Safety Stand-Down, when an evacuation drill of the entire site was held involving more than 500 participants.
White House webinar to offer information on protecting workers from heat illness
The White House is hosting a webinar on increasing community preparedness to extreme heat on May 26 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT. During the webinar, an OSHA representative will discuss the responsibility of employers and supervisors to prevent heat illness through providing workers with water, opportunity to rest, and shade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 alone, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes. Anyone wishing to attend the webinar should register online.
OSHA issues final rule to make employers, public better informed about workplace injuries, illnesses
OSHA today issued a final rule* to modernize injury data collection to better inform workers, employers, the public, and OSHA about workplace hazards. With this new rule, OSHA is applying the insights of behavioral economics to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries and illnesses.
OSHA requires many employers to keep a record* of injuries and illnesses to help these employers and their employees identify hazards, fix problems and prevent additional injuries and illnesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than three million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year. Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses at individual employers is made public or available to OSHA. Under the new rule, employers in high-hazard industries will send OSHA injury and illness data that the employers are already required to collect, for posting on the agency's website.
The availability of these data will enable prospective employees to identify workplaces where their risk of injury is lowest; as a result, employers competing to hire the best workers will make injury prevention a higher priority. Access to these data will also enable employers to benchmark their safety and health performance against industry leaders, to improve their own safety programs.
"Since high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Our new reporting requirements will 'nudge' employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable 'big data' researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer."
Under the new rule, all establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301. Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries* must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.
To ensure that the injury data on OSHA logs are accurate and complete, the final rule also promotes an employee's right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting. This aspect of the rule targets employer programs and policies that, while nominally promoting safety, have the effect of discouraging workers from reporting injuries and, in turn leading to incomplete or inaccurate records of workplace hazards.
The new requirements take effect August 10, 2016, with phased in data submissions beginning in 2017. These requirements do not add to or change an employer's obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records under the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. For more information see the news release and blog post by Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, and visit OSHA's webpage on the final rule, which includes links to a fact sheet and frequently asked questions.
OSHA charges Connecticut furniture manufacturer with unlawfully discharging workers for filing safety and health complaints
The U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Eastern Awning Systems Inc., finding that the company unlawfully discharged two workers who filed safety and health complaints with OSHA. The employees filed the complaints after they became ill while working in the plant's powder coat room in 2009. Based on the complaints, OSHA conducted an inspection and cited the company for willfully exposing workers to inhalation hazards and for lack of adequate ventilation. While the OSHA inspection was ongoing, the company discharged the two workers, who then filed whistleblower complaints with OSHA. For more information, see the news release.