Local Emphasis Program Focuses on Health Care

December 03, 2018
Local Emphasis Program Focuses on Health Care
Alaska’s Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH) has established a Local Emphasis Program (LEP) for safety and health inspections in a number of segments of the healthcare industry. The program is part of a five-year strategic plan to reduce the rate of occupational illness, injuries, and fatalities in Alaska by focusing on the construction, seafood processing, and health care industries.
This program will result in more frequent inspections of the facilities listed below. The LEP program focuses attention on worksites in Alaska that fall under AKOSH jurisdiction in the following areas of health care and social assistance:
  • Offices of Physicians and Dentists
  • Outpatient Care Centers
  • Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Other Ambulatory Health Care Services
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
  • Social Assistance
AKOSH enforcement inspections under this program will focus on the types of hazards commonly found in hospitals and other health care settings: slips, trips and falls, blood borne pathogens, tuberculosis, workplace violence, and ergonomics. Enforcement officers will expand the scope of an inspection if the employer’s OSHA 300 logs demonstrate high injury or illness rates related to hazards not listed above. During an enforcement inspection, the officer will also evaluate the employer’s overall safety and health management system.
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OSHA Initiative to Increase Awareness of Trenching and Excavation Hazards and Solutions
Working in trenches and excavations can be hazardous, and trench collapses pose great risk to workers. To raise awareness of preventable incidents, compliance assistance specialists with OSHA in the Southeast are conducting outreach to educate employers and employees on the hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.
OSHA area offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, are reaching out to excavation employers, industry associations, equipment rental organizations, water utility suppliers, and national and local plumbing companies to educate them to identify trenching hazards. Compliance assistance specialists will also remind employers of the requirements to implement methods to prevent collapses, such as sloping trench walls, shoring the walls with supports, or shielding walls with trench boxes.
"Employees can be seriously or fatally injured in a matter of seconds when a trench collapses," said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt A. Petermeyer, in Atlanta. "Trench-related injuries are preventable when employees are trained properly and the required protections are in place."
In October 2018, OSHA updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Trenching and Excavation to continue support for compliance assistance and inspection programs that address trenching and excavation operations. The Agency provides a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from trenching and excavation hazards, including a "Protect Workers in Trenches" poster, hard hat stickers in English and Spanish,  trenching operations QuickCard, and updated Trenching and Excavation webpage.
Small Changes for Safer Driving Habits
A Safe Driving – Get There Safely EVERY Time workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon December 12 at the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s Wethersfield office located at 200 Folly Brook Blvd.
“Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor show that work-related vehicle crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities,” explained CONN-OSHA Occupational Safety Training Specialist Catherine Zinsser. “Small changes in behavior behind the wheel, however, can decrease the likelihood of getting in a motor vehicle accident, and increase chances of survival in the event of collision or other serious event.”
The training will “present safe driving techniques and behaviors in an interesting format designed to motivate attendees to immediately assess their own actions and behaviors,” she said, and will focus on four main strategies:
  • Hazard Recognition – anticipating, recognizing and reacting appropriately to hazards
  • Speed Management – managing speed so it is right for conditions
  • Space Management – maintaining a safe spacing with other traffic
  • Vehicle Handling – safe vehicle handling skills under a range of road circumstances
Contact Zinsser at Catherine.zinsser@ct.gov to pre-register for the workshop.
Florida Property Maintenance Company Fined After Employee Suffered Burn Injuries
OSHA has cited L.A. Disaster Relief and Property Maintenance LLC after an employee suffered burn injuries at a McDavid, Florida, worksite. The property maintenance and land clearing company faces $94,415 in penalties.
OSHA investigators determined that the company owner directed the injured employee to ignite wood and debris inside an air burn box using a torch and gasoline, which caused an explosion. OSHA cited the company for failing to implement a hazard communication program to familiarize employees with flammable and combustible dust hazards.
"This owner's intentional disregard of the manufacturers' safety instructions and failure to take proper safety measures resulted in serious injuries to an employee," said OSHA Jacksonville Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez.
Worker Fatality at Army Reserve Facility in California
OSHA issued notices of safety violations to the U.S. Army Reserve 63 Regional Support Command at a Sacramento, California, maintenance facility. The notices were issued after a federal civilian employee was fatally injured when the automated lifting mechanism of a utility vehicle cargo box failed and pinned him between the bed and the vehicle frame. OSHA investigators determined that there was not an adequate hazardous energy control program in place and failed to provide required injury and illness records to OSHA in a timely manner.
“Employees must be trained on how to safely perform work activities,” said OSHA Oakland Area Director Amber Rose. “This tragedy could have been prevented had a job hazard analysis been conducted, and an effective safety and health program been in place.”
The command center has 15 business days from receipt of the notices to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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