In settlement, Dollar Tree agrees to enhance safety for workers at stores nationwide
OSHA and Dollar Tree Stores Inc. have agreed to a nation-wide agreement, settling all safety and health citations issued against the company following inspections at 13 stores across the country. Under the corporate-wide agreement, which covers workers at about 2,400 stores, Dollar Tree will eliminate hazards related to blocked emergency exits, obstructed access to electrical equipment and exit routes, and improper material storage. The company will also pay $825,000 in penalties.
Dollar Tree agreed to develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program consistent with OSHA's Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. The retailer also agreed to: publish a corporate newsletter on safety and health issues; arrange for a third-party monitor to audit 50 company stores; inspect a portion of its own stores for three years; encourage use of a new toll-free number for employees to anonymously report safety and health issues; and work with OSHA to monitor implementation.
For more information, read the news release.
Secretary of Labor appoints members to the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez appointed seven members to serve on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee. Six members will serve through Nov. 30, 2017. The federal member will serve through Nov. 30, 2016. WPAC was established to advise and make recommendations to the secretary of labor and the assistant secretary for occupational safety and health on ways to improve the fairness, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of OSHA's whistleblower protection activities.
- Sylvia Johnson, Ph.D., deputy legislative director, United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
- Nancy Lessin, Senior Staff for Strategic Initiatives, United Steelworkers, Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety, and Environmental Education
- Kym F. Gaylo, Global HSE Associate Director, Proctor & Gamble
- Marcia L. Narine, Assistant Professor, St. Thomas University School of Law
State Plan representative
- Lezlie A. Perrin, Appeals, Audit and Discrimination Senior Program Manager, Department of Labor and Industries, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, State of Washington
- Jonathan Brock, Chair, Hanford Concerns Council
- Eric K. Bachman, Deputy Special Counsel for Litigation and Legal Affairs, U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Spanish-language fact sheet now available on whistleblower protections under the OSH Act
OSHA's factsheet, Filing Whistleblower Complaints under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act of 1970, is now available in Spanish*. The fact sheet explains that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for exercising a variety of rights guaranteed under the OSH Act, such as filing a safety and health complaint with OSHA, raising a health and safety concern with their employers, participating in an OSHA inspection, or reporting a work-related injury or illness.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes that protect workers from retaliation when raising safety and health issues on the job or reporting violations of laws in various industries. For more information, visit the Whistleblower webpage in English or Spanish.
Third-Annual National Safety Stand-Down to be held May 2-6, 2016
OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Center for Construction Research and Training will hold the third annual National Safety Stand-Down May 2-6, 2016, to raise awareness of the serious risk of falls in the workplace. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and lack of proper fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation by OSHA.
More than 4 million workers have participated in the last two years, dedicating themselves to on-the-job safety. This year the stand-down will highlight the safe use of ladders and encourage employers to pause during their workday for topic talks, demonstrations and training on how to prevent falls. For more information on the success of last year’s stand-down, see the final data report. Visit the 2016 National Safety Stand-Down webpage for more updates.
Online charts breakdown the number and types of serious nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2014
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released interactive online charts illustrating the 1,157,410 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that required days away from work in 2014. The charts show the incidence rates and median days away from work broken down by occupation, and the causes of injuries and illnesses most commonly suffered by workers in specific occupations. Moving your cursor over the circles and clicking on bars in the charts reveals additional information. The charts can be accessed on the BLS website
New OSHA bulletin provides information on explosion hazards from steelmaking furnaces
Control room windows damaged by steel furnace explosion.
OSHA has posted a new Safety and Health Information Bulletin on Carbon Monoxide Explosion Hazards in Electric Arc Furnace Steelmaking Operations. The bulletin was developed after a May 2013 electric arc furnace explosion severely burned three workers through their personal protective equipment. The bulletin describes electric arc furnace explosion causes, how to prevent them, and how to protect workers.
Overview, discussion of updated Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines set for Dec. 9
OSHA invites interested parties to a facilitated discussion about the agency's updated draft Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines on Wednesday, December 9, from 1-3 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. First published in 1989 to help employers establish their own safety and health programs, the voluntary guidelines are being updated to reflect best thinking and experiences from employers that have successfully used them. New material should be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. Updates also address ways in which multiple employers at the same worksite can coordinate efforts to protect all workers. The discussion will be led by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. To register and learn how to submit questions in advance, visit the discussion webpage.
Strong public approval for government efforts to improve workplace safety
A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that more than three-quarters of the public thinks the federal government is doing a good job of setting fair and safe workplace standards. In contrast, the poll also found that overall trust in the government and political leaders are near historic lows. Despite the public’s professed cynicism for government programs in general, many voiced strong support in specific areas, with setting safe standards for workplaces the 2nd highest rated. And the support was bipartisan: According to the Pew report, “Large majorities of both Democrats and Republicans say [the government] does a good job of responding to natural disasters (82% and 78%, respectively) and setting fair and safe standards for workplaces (79% and 77%, respectively).” The poll results were based on more than 6,000 interviews conducted between August 27 and October 4, 2015.
OSHA partners with construction companies to protect workers in Missouri and Texas
OSHA regularly enters into Strategic Partnerships with trade associations and employers to protect workers in the construction industry.
OSHA's area offices in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., continue to work with the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri to promote safe and healthful working conditions in the residential construction industry. The partnership, in its 10th year, gives Association members access to educational opportunities, safety materials and resources, to assist them in their efforts to ensure the safety of their workers. OSHA’s San Antonio Area Office and Jordan Foster Construction formed a similar partnership to protect 150 workers during the construction of the 270,000 square foot Security Service Credit Union Headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. Through its Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA partners with employers, workers, professional and trade associations, labor organizations and other interested stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.
New webpage offers resources for protecting healthcare workers from workplace violence
OSHA has developed a new webpage that addresses workplace violence prevention in healthcare settings. The webpage, part of OSHA’s Worker Safety in Hospitals webpage website, contains tools to help healthcare facilities design a violence prevention program using core elements including: management commitment and worker participation; worksite analysis and hazard identification; hazard prevention and control; safety and health training; and recordkeeping and program evaluation. The page also provides real-life examples from healthcare facilities that have integrated successful workplace violence prevention programs, as well as models of how a workplace violence prevention program can enhance an organization’s strategies for compliance, accreditation and a culture of safety. For more information, read the news release and visit the Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare page.