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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) fiscal year (FY) 2019 final statistics show a significant increase in the number of inspections and a record amount of compliance assistance to further the mission of ensuring that employers provide workplaces free of hazards.

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Tagged in: OSHA

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Bill Simpson transformed the racing world – through safety! Being a race car driver himself and having many racing friends, he understood the dangers and wanted to keep them as safe as possible. In 1958, at the young age of 18 years old, Simpson broke both arms in a drag racing crash when his dragster didn’t stop at the end of the strip, which made him seriously start thinking about his own safety. The thought of using a parachute to stop dragsters had been discussed in the racing world, but Simpson was the first to make it work.

Keeping safety in mind while he continued to race, he began the quest to find ways to combat fires as all too often, fiery crashes meant certain death or serious injuries for race car drivers. In the late 60’s, Simpson met with Apollo 12 Commander, Pete Conrad, who loved racing and introduced Simpson to the space-age material Normex. Normex was used in space suit construction and it transformed drive safety. Before this, such efforts as soaking t-shirts and pants in bathtubs filled with water and chemical agents designed to combat flames was the go-to “safety” step, but these garments were definitely no match for burning gasoline and oil.

Normex wasn’t a fireproof solution, but it gave drivers those crucial extra seconds to get out of the car and roll on the ground or be reached by safety workers with fire extinguishers to stop the flames and burning before it reached the skin. He took the suit to the 1967 Indianapolis 500 where it was worn by 30 of the 33 drivers. Anyone familiar with the racing world will remember or at least had heard about or seen the ad from 1986 where Simpson set himself on fire wearing his company’s, Simpson Race Products, flameproof driver’s suit, shoes, socks, gloves and helmet.

Simpson raced in the 1968-1974 and 1976-1977 seasons with 52 career starts and qualified 12th for the 1974 Indianapolis 500 and finishing 13th, but he decided to end his racing career and focus solely on safety innovation when he realized he was thinking about a telephone call he needed to make for his business while practicing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His innovation didn’t stop with parachute and fire suits, but also included seat belts, harnesses, helmets and other safety equipment – developing over 200 racing safety products, including three generations of fire suits. When it comes to safety and the racing world, he is the man – his name is on multiple products used by virtually every race driver today. He was named to the Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2003.

E.J. “Bill” Simpson (March 14, 1940 – December 16, 2019)

A new study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine is the first to examine hearing loss prevalence and risk by industry within the Oil and Gas Extraction sector, and within most Mining sector industries. Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that in many industries within these sectors, at least 25% of the workers had hearing loss. In some industries, more than 30% had hearing loss.

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Every year, at the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, OSHA releases their top ten violations. Even though the list doesn’t change very often, if at all, it’s always a good reminder as we head into the new year on what you can do at your organization to not become a part of the “Top 10” statistic. This year’s Top 10 is the same as last year’s – and for the ninth year in a row, Fall Protection is the number one violation.

Here’s the entire list and quick description along with the most common violations and violators:

1. Fall protection (construction)—general requirements (29 CFR 1926.501): common violations under this standard included failure to provide fall protection near unprotected sides or edges and on both low-slope and steep roofs. Many of the citations were issued to roofing contractors, framing contractors, masonry contractors, and new single-family housing construction contractors (6,010 violations)

2. Hazard communication (29 CFR 1910.1200): common failings included lack of a written program, inadequate training, and failing to properly develop or maintain safety data sheets (SDSs); auto repair facilities and painting contractors were among the top industries to receive hazard communication citations (3,671 violations)

3. Scaffolds (construction)—general requirements (29 CFR 1926.451): common violations included improper decking, failing to provide guardrails where required, and failure to ensure that supported scaffolds are adequately supported on a solid foundation; masonry, siding, roofing, and framing contractors are the most often cited for scaffolding violations (2,813 violations)

4. Lockout/tagout (29 CFR 1910.147): common deficiencies included failure to establish an energy control procedure altogether and failure to provide adequate employee training, conduct periodic evaluations of procedures, or use lockout/tagout devices or equipment; main culprits for these types of violations were plastics manufacturers, machine shops, and sawmills (2,606 violations)

5. Respiratory protection (29 CFR 1910.134): most frequently cited issues included failing to establish a program, failing to perform required fit testing, and failing to provide medical evaluations; auto body refinishing, masonry contractors, painting contractors, and wall covering contractors received many citations under this standard (2,450 violations)

6. Ladders (construction) (29 CFR 1926.1053): common violations included failure to have siderails extend 3 feet (ft) beyond a landing surface, using ladders for unintended purposes, using the top step of a stepladder, and using ladders with structural defects; these violations were common among roofing, framing, siding, and painting contractors (2,345 violations)

7. Powered industrial trucks (29 CFR 1910.178): commonly cited issues included deficient or damaged forklifts that were not removed from service, failing to safely operate a forklift, failing to retain certification of training, and failing to evaluate forklift drivers every 3 years as required; several industries were cited for forklift violations, but it was predominantly prevalent in warehousing and storage facilities, fabricated and structural metal manufacturing, and among framing contractors (2,093 violations)

8. Fall protection (construction)—training requirements (29 CFR 1926.503): commonly addressed deficiencies included failing to provide training to each person required to receive it, failing to certify training in writing, inadequacies in training leading to the failure of retention by the trainee, and failing to retrain in instances where the trainee failed to retain the training content (1,773 violations)

9. Machine guarding (29 CFR 1910.212): common violations included failing to guard points of operation, failing to ensure that guards are securely attached to machinery, improper guarding of fan blades, and failing to properly anchor fixed machinery; most common offenders of these violations were machine shops and fabricated metal manufacturing (1,743 violations)

10. Personal protective and lifesaving equipment (construction)—eye and face protection (29 CFR 1926.102): frequently cited issues included failing to provide eye and face protection where employees are exposed to hazards from flying objects, failing to provide eye protection with side protection, and failing to provide protection from caustic hazards, gases, and vapors (1,411 violations)

Tagged in: OSHA

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it has recently implemented the OSHA Weighting System (OWS) for fiscal year (FY) 2020. OWS will encourage the appropriate allocation of resources to support OSHA’s balanced approach of promoting safe and healthy workplaces, and continue to develop and support a management system that focuses enforcement activities on critical and strategic areas where the agency’s efforts can have the most impact.

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