Employers Urged to Take Safety Precautions on Black Friday

November 14, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Thanksgiving turkey isn’t even in the oven, but retailers (and shoppers) are already looking ahead to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when stores traditionally promote once-a-year, enticing — some would say irresistible — prices to shoppers. But Black Friday can be more than a profitable day for retail employers. It also can be a safety hazard.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding retail employers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during major sales events this holiday season. In 2008, a worker was trampled to death while a crowd of shoppers rushed the doors of a Wal-Mart store in New York.

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Categories: OSHA

OSHA Seeks Comments on Revised Whistleblower Rules

November 03, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking comments on interim final rules that revise the regulations on whistleblower complaints filed under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).

The whistleblower protection provisions of SOX were amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to clarify that subsidiaries of publicly traded companies are covered employers under the statute and to add nationally recognized statistical rating organizations as covered employers. The Dodd-Frank Act also extended the statute of limitations for filing a complaint from 90 to 180 days.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / OSHA


2010 Figures Show Little Change in Number of Fatal Work Injuries

August 26, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The number of fatal workplace injuries in 2010 was slightly lower than the number in 2009, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released on August 25.

A preliminary total of 4,547 fatal work injuries was recorded in 2010, a minor decrease from 4,551 fatal injuries recorded in 2009. The rate of fatal work injuries for U.S. workers in 2010 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the same as the final rate for 2009.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / OSHA

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New OSHA Mobile App Helps Workers Prevent Heat Illness

August 12, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is going high-tech with its efforts to prevent heat-related illnesses. The agency announced on August 11 that it has released a free application for mobile devices that is aimed at helping workers and supervisors monitor the heat index at their work sites.

Available in English and Spanish, the app combines heat index data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with the user’s location to determine when outdoor workers should take protective measures. Such measures include reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for heat-related illness. Also, users can contact OSHA directly through the app.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / OSHA

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OSHA Beefing Up Whistleblower Program

August 10, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 1 COMMENTS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced changes aimed at strengthening its protection of employees who report suspected unlawful activity on the part of their employers.

The plan to correct problems with the Whistleblower Protection Program comes after OSHA conducted a top-to-bottom review prompted by audits of the program by the Government Accountability Office in 2009 and 2010. A statement from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said problems with the program were related to its transparency and accountability, training for investigators and managers, and internal communications and audit program.

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OSHA to Publish Five New Final Rules in 2011

January 06, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On Wednesday, January 5, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hosted a live Q&A Web chat to answer questions about its Fall 2010 Regulatory Agenda. The assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, started the session by listing some of OSHA’s 2010 achievements. He noted that the agency:

  • published final rules/interim final rules for cranes and derricks;
  • issued two whistleblower regulations;
  • finished the final rule remand on hexavalent chromium and its review of the methylene chloride standard; and
  • published proposed rules for walking and working surfaces, its Standards Improvement Project — Phase III, and a Request for Information (RFI) on infectious diseases.

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Coming Soon: OSHA Vs. New House Majority on Enforcement

December 13, 2010 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) agenda to increase enforcement, which includes items such as ergonomics, noise standards, and an injury and illness prevention program, seems destined to run into resistance from the new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

It’s fairly clear that changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) proposed last year are done for. In their place, OSHA seems likely to move towards implementing its agenda through regulation, enforcement policy, and reinterpretation of existing standards, among other techniques.

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OSHA’s Enforcement Push: 27 Separate Cases with $100,000-plus Fines

October 06, 2010 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

By Jim Stanley, President, FDRsafety

Big fines make big news as was evident when OSHA recently proposed $16.6 million in penalties in a deadly explosion at a Kleen Energy Systems construction site in Connecticut. But day-in, day-out announcements of OSHA fines may be just as significant because they illustrate the depth of the agency’s enforcement push.

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Categories: OSHA

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‘New’ OSHA Uses Old Policy to Make Example of Employers

August 10, 2010 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

OSHA is making aggressive use of “egregious violations” to levy large fines and make an example of employers where it considers hazards to have been very serious, including a $16.6 million fine in Connecticut last week and another case in Wisconsin. But the question is whether the violations will hold up in the face of aggressive litigation by employers.

“Over past years, in a limited number of cases, OSHA has alleged a separate violation and proposed a separate penalty for each instance of non-compliance with OSHA recordkeeping regulations, safety and health standards and with the general duty clause,” reported Jim Stanley, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

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Categories: OSHA

OSHA Administrator, Employers Group Spar Over Proposed Changes to OSH Act

July 14, 2010 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

A proposal to increase Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) penalties now being considered by Congress will not result in any actual improvements in workplace safety and health, a representative of a coalition of employer groups testified on Tuesday, July 13, before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor.

Jonathan Snare was speaking for the Coalition of Workplace Safety, which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He was testifying before the House Education and Labor Committee, which is likely to vote soon on a bill containing the proposals. The bill, which also makes changes to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, could go to the House floor by the end of July.

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