OSHA has scheduled a series of meeting this month to discuss the crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.
The certification requirement, adopted as part of the Aug. 9, 2010 crane rule, requires that all crane operators receive certified by November, 2014. Secondly, the standard requires that certifications issued by an accredited testing organization specify the “capacity and type” of cranes the operator is certified to operate.
Cranes Today reported in late 2012 how the US crane industry had widely condemned OSHA’s plans for crane operator certification, with some suggesting that the measures could add $1bn in extra testing and training costs.
The meetings will focus on the effectiveness of crane operator certification to ensure that crane operators can safely operate equipment, and the level of competence and safe operation that certification ensures.
The agency seeks information from the public on the usefulness of certifying operators for different capacities of cranes, and the risks of allowing an operator to operate all capacities of cranes within a specific type.
All meetings will be held at the U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3437 A, B and C. The Department of Labor is located at 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.
Individuals interested in participating in or observing the afternoon April 3 meeting must pre-register by calling OSHA’s Directorate of Construction at 202-693-2020. Due to limited space, only one individual per organization may participate in a meeting. OSHA will permit two observers from each organization, but only one observer if that organization also has a participant in a meeting. Organizations may only participate in one meeting. OSHA’s goal is to accommodate as wide an audience as possible of informed technical experts on crane safety and operator certification.
The two meetings currently scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on April 2 and 3 are full.
Safety is important, and it shouldn’t be boring. Holding regular safety meetings to refresh and remind everyone of safety hazards and practices is vital for ensuring a safe work place. The problem is that after a while presenting or listening to the same information can start to seem like a karaoke party, where everybody knows the words and the tune.
The danger of this is that important messages can get lost when the audience’s attention wanes. The challenge now becomes, How can the meetings be more interesting? Here are some ideas that may help.
Facts tell, stories sell. – This is an old saw in the sales world that basically means people will be more interested in a subject if they can relate to it. By relating information about accidents, injuries, or near misses that have occurred can reinforce the importance of the message. Stories can be obtained by personal experience, by talking to others, and off of the internet. The key is to make sure that the stories apply to your job.
Guest speakers. - Sometimes the messenger can get repetitive. If Bob always runs the safety meetings, consider having others conduct some. The change in delivery style can create more interest. This also allows others to gain experience in communication and public speaking skills, and has the side benefit of reinforcing the information to the guest speaker, as they will likely review the material more closely before presenting it.
W.I.I.F.M. – “what’s in it for me?” This concept deals with the idea that the audience will be more interested if they understand the impact on them. A key message can be the cost of accident or injury. If everyone understands that the loss of work time affects them financially, it may be a motivation to avoid unsafe practices. If everyone understands the workers compensation and or health insurance will only cover about 60% of their salary on average. They may think about how that reduced income will impact their personal life.
Interactive participation. – In situations where props can be used, such as hand tools or protective equipment, picking an audience member to demonstrate to a procedure can be helpful. In some cases a competition might be an option. If the proper use of fall or respiratory equipment is being discussed, seeing who in the audience can put on the equipment properly in the shortest time might be a way to increase involvement. This can serve as a team building exercise and procedures practice. A small reward for the winner can also be used for motivation.
With a little though and some creativity, an important part of everyone’s job can avoid becoming drudgery. It can also be helpful to ask for suggestions from your co-workers on ways to improve your safety meetings. There may be a lot of good ideas out there, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
In 2012, WorkSafeBC imposed 260 penalties, totaling $2.9 million against employers for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and the Workers Compensation Act.
The highest single penalty in 2012 was imposed against Francesco Aquilini & Roberto Aquilini & Elisa Aquilini et al., for failing to maintain in safe operating condition, the farm vehicle the employer used to transport farm workers. This was a repeated violation and the firm was fined $125,277.
The second and third highest penalties of $105,000 each were imposed against Skylite Building Maintenance Ltd., for chronic repeated violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Workers Compensation Act, for exposing workers to asbestos. In 2012, three penalties were imposed on Skylite totalling $227,500.
In recent years WorkSafeBC has increased its enforcement capacity, directing a more intensive focus to the industries that present the highest risk to workers and to employers where compliance is known to be an issue — such as steep slope roofing and asbestos abatement.
“Penalties are imposed to motivate employers to comply with health and safety laws,” says Al Johnson, Vice President Prevention Services.
“While WorkSafeBC works with employers to ensure they understand their legal responsibilities to provide safe and healthy workplaces — our officers will impose a penalty or pursue court processes against employers who repeatedly fail to comply with the law.”
The total penalties issued in 2012 were against 225 individual employers.
A total of six incidents in which an employer was penalized involved a fatality.
Employers from the construction sector accounted for almost 85% of penalties. Most of these penalties were related to inadequate use of fall protection (59%) and exposing workers to asbestos (14%).
Penalty amounts vary year over year due to the size of employers penalized (employers with larger payrolls are assessed higher penalties) and the seriousness of the violations.
The maximum penalty amount permissible under the Workers Compensation Act is adjusted yearly — in 2012 it was $596,435.35.
A new study released by the American Psychological Association found that one-third of employees experienced chronic work related stress.
“This isn’t just an HR or management issue,” said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association. “The well-being of an organization’s workforce is a strategic business imperative that is linked to its performance and success.”
APA’s Work and Well-Being Survey was conducted online among 1,501 adults from Jan. 9-21, 2013 on behalf of the APA by Harris Interactive.
Through the survey employees started they felt stuck (39%), not valued (49%), under paid (46 %) and unheard (53%).
Despite growing awareness of the importance of a healthy workplace, few employees said their organizations provide sufficient resources to help them manage stress (36 percent) and meet their mental health needs (44 percent).
In fact, only 59 percent reported having adequate employer-provided health insurance. Just 42 percent of employees said their organizations promote and support a healthy lifestyle and only 36 percent reported regularly participating in workplace health and wellness programs.
Share ways your company helps reduce stress on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has published an interim final rule extending protections to employees who blow the whistle on their employers for not abiding by the rules set forth in the Affordable Care Act(ACA).
The rule would protect employees for against retaliation from their employers in the following instances:
1) reporting a violation of Title I of the ACA;
2) refusing to participate in an activity the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of Title I;
3) assisting or participating in a whistleblower proceeding under Section 1558; or
4) receiving a tax credit or cost-sharing reduction as a result of participation in a Health Insurance Exchange or Marketplace.
In 2014, the anti-retaliation provisions of Section 1558 will be expanded to apply to group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage.
Forget the N95 respirator and put away the sunscreen, all that you may need to protect yourself from dust, pollen and UV rays is a grisly beard, according to researchers at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.
The researchers didn’t suggest people really forgo the sunscreen and respirator mask, but they did come to the conclusion that a well-grown beard can block 90 to 95 percent of all ultraviolet rays from making contact with facial skin and reduce intake of particles.
To conduct their study, researchers took mannequins out into the Australian outback. They put fake facial hair on some mannequins and none on the remaining. After a certain period of time, the researchers recorded how much radiation has been absorbed into the clean shaven mannequins compared to the fully bearded ones.
A group of Australian miners were fired after posting a viral video of themselves doing the “Harlem Shake.”
The 30-second video features around eight underground mine workers in various states of undress performing their rendition of the viral dance craze at the Agnew Gold Mine just west of Agnew, Western Australia.
Barminco, the Australia-based underground services company that operates the mine, sent dismissal letters to 15 workers, all the workers seen in the video and several who were off camera. In the letters, Barminco claimed the performance was in violation of the company’s “core values of safety, integrity and excellence.”
Some of the miners reportedly were drawing a six-figure income from their work in the mine when they lost their jobs. The dismissal letters forbid any of the group from being “subcontracted by Barminco at any site domestically and globally.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is holding a special meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) March 18 to consider changes to OSHA’s standard on accident prevention signs and tags in construction.
The standard currently requires signs and symbols are visible at all times to warn workers of existing hazards when work is being performed. The updates are based on revisions in the American National Standards Institute consensus standards. For more information, see OSHA’s existing Accident Prevention Signs and Tags standard.
In addition to possible changes to the sign regulation, the group will discuss consider proposed amendments and corrections to OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks standards.
ACCSH, established under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, advises the secretary of labor and assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on construction standards and policy matters.
The meeting will be held from 1- 4 p.m. in Room N-3437 A-C, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210.
The meeting is open to the public. Comments and requests to speak may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by March 8.
In an attempt to help stymie the number of workplace injuries incurred by young workers each year, Canada’s labour ministers are inviting young filmmakers to submit videos to the “It’s Your Job!” workplace safety video contest.
The contest is a result of an agreement last year between federal, provincial and territorial ministers of labour to educate young workers of their rights through a national social media video contest.
“There is a vital link between healthy, safe workplaces and Canada’s economic growth,” said the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Labour Minister. “By engaging and informing our younger workers, we can be confident that they will contribute to building and sustaining safe workplaces.”
Nova Scotia’s minimum wage will increase on April 1 from $10.15 an hour to $10.30 an hour.
The minimum wage for an inexperienced worker, with less than three months’ experience in the work for which they were hired, will also increase from $9.65 to $9.80.
“Nova Scotians deserve to earn a fair wage for a day’s work,” said Marilyn More, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “The minimum wage rate must continue to keep up with increases to the costs of living. This new schedule will also provide employers and employees in the province with predictability and stability going forward.”
The increase to $10.30 is based on the Low Income Cut Off adjusted for inflation. Future increases to the rate will occur annually in April based on increases to the national consumer price index for the previous year.
Fixing the rate to the consumer price index was a recommendation from the Minimum Wage Review Committee, made up of people representing both employers and employees. The committee had previously recommended a schedule of increases that would bring the rate back in line with the Low Income Cut Off, a figure set by Statistics Canada where people are devoting a significantly larger than average percentage of their income to the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing.