Monday, July 25, 2016

OSHA delays effective date for enforcing employees’ rights to report workplace injuries, illnesses

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is delaying enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new injury and illness tracking rule to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers. Originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, enforcement will now begin Nov. 1, 2016.

Under the rule, employers are required to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting; and incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer Heat and Sun - Tool Box Talks

Hot  summer  months  pose  special  hazards  for  outdoor  workers  who  must  protect  themselves  against  heat, sun  exposure,  and  other  hazards.  Employers  and  employees  should  know  the  potential  hazards  in  their workplaces and how to manage them.


Sunlight  contains  ultraviolet  (UV)  radiation,  which  causes  premature  aging  of  the  skin,  wrinkles,  cataracts, and  skin  cancer.  There  are  no  safe  UV  rays  or  safe  suntans.  Be  especially  careful  in  the  sun  if  you  burn  easily, spend  a  lot  of  time  outdoors,  or  have  any  of  the  following  physical  features:  numerous,  irregular,  or  large moles; freckles; fair skin; or blond, red,  or  light  brown  hair.  Here’s  how  to  block  those  harmful  rays:

• Cover  up.  Wear  tightly  woven  clothing  that  you  can’t  see  through.

• Use  sunscreen.  A  sun  protection  factor  (SPF)  of  at  least  15  blocks  93  percent  of  UV  rays.  Be  sure  to  follow  application  directions  on  the  bottle  or  tube.

• Wear  a  hat.  A  wide  brim  hat,  not  a  baseball  cap,  works  best  because  it  protects  the  neck,  ears,  eyes,  forehead,  nose,  and  scalp.  

• Wear  UV-absorbent  shades.  Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent  of  UVA  and  UVB  radiation.  Before  you  buy,  read  the  product  tag  or  label.  

• Limit  exposure.  UV  rays  are  most  intense  between  10  a.m.  and  4  p.m.


The combination of heat and humidity  can  be  a  serious  health  threat  during  the  summer  months.  If  you work  at  a  beach  resort,  on  a  farm,  or  in  a  kitchen,  laundry,  or  bakery,  for  example,  you  may  be  at  risk  for heat-related  illness.  So,  take  precautions.  Here’s  how:

• Drink  plenty  of  water before  you  get  thirsty.  

• Wear  light,  loose-fitting, breathable clothing— cotton  is  good.

• Take  frequent  short  breaks  in  cool  shade.

• Eat  smaller  meals  before  work  activity.

• Avoid  caffeine  and  alcohol  or  large  amounts  of  sugar.

• Find out from your health-care provider  if  your  medications  and  heat  don’t  mix.

• Know  that  equipment  such  as  respirators  or  work  suits  can  increase  heat  stress.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency

Monday, July 11, 2016

Workplace Violence On the job Tool Box Talks

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What is workplace violence?
Workplace violence ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors. Workplace violence includes but is not limited to:
·        Physical violence
·        Harassment
·        Intimidation
·        Other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site 
 How can workplace violence hazards be reduced?
Behaviors of concern can help workers recognize potential problems with fellow employees. If a coworker begins acting differently, determining the frequency, duration, and intensity of the new, and possibly troubling, behavior can prove helpful. Specific behaviors of concern that should increase vigilance for coworkers and supervisors include:
·        Sadness or depression

·        Threats

·        Menacing or erratic behavior
·        Aggressive outbursts
·        References to weaponry
       Verbal Abuse
       Inability to handle criticism
       Hypersensitivity to perceived slight
         Offensive commentary or jokes referring to violence

 These behaviors—when observed in clusters and coupled with diminished work performance (as manifested by increased tardiness or absences, poor coworker relations, and decreased productivity)—may suggest a heightened violence potential. It must be pointed out, however, that no single behavior is more suggestive of violence than another. All actions have to be judged in the proper context and in totality to determine the potential for violence.

Care must be taken when dealing with what can be highly charged situations. Certain signs that may help determine if a coworker is experiencing such difficulties include:
·        Disruptive phone calls and e-mails
·        Anxiety

·        Poor concentration

·        Unexplained bruises or injuries
  Frequent absences and tardiness
        Use of unplanned personal time
Disruptive visit from current or former partners
Remember that all incidents are different and must be viewed on their own individual merits.

What is the process if I witness or experience workplace violence?
Report concerns regarding workplace violence to your supervisors or Human Resources Department.
Your employer will investigate all threats, incidents of actual violence, and suspicious individuals or activities.
The identity of the individual making a report will be protected as much as possible. Your employer will not retaliate against employees making good-faith reports of threats, violence, or suspicious individuals or activities.
Following an investigation, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including termination of employment. 
This information is provided by: Assurance Agency

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Noise? What Noise? Tool Box Talks

Construction sites are noisy places, especially during certain phases of a project. However, you don't have to accept hearing loss as a cost of working at construction sites. Noise is now recognized by OSHA as a hazard that can cause:
• Temporary or permanent hearing loss.
• Drowsiness, irritability, & loss of concentration.
• Decreased morale and stress.
• High blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, and sleeping disorders.

 There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so preventing exposure to excessive noise is the only way to avoid hearing damage and other hazards. Noise is unwanted sound measured by its frequency (high or low pitch and its intensity (loudness measured in decibels (dB)). High frequencies are most damaging. Construction workers may not be exposed to more than an average of 85 dB over an eight-hour period without hearing protection being provided.

Hearing protection devices (HPDs) do not block out sound completely, but they give some protection by reducing the amount of sound reaching your ear. At the same time, you will be able to hear speech and important machinery sounds.

Keep in mind, though, that HPDs are provided only after your employer assesses the noise, attempts to reduce it using engineering and administrative controls (like having you work far from noisy equipment, limiting the amount of time you spend in noisy environments, and installing antivibration machine mountings or acoustical enclosures), and then finds that hazardous noise remains. The various HPDs that your company may provide to you include ear plugs, ear muffs, or canal caps.

Ultimately, you are responsible for protecting your own hearing. Here are some points to remember about protecting your sense of hearing:
• Have an annual hearing test.
• Make sure your hearing protection fits.
• Don't use homemade hearing protection devices; they don't work.
• Keep hearing protection devices in good condition.
• Wear hearing protection devices at work as required and at home when working on noisy projects.

Download this article.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency