Monday, January 17, 2011

OSHA Rescinds Old Residential Fall Protection Directive

As a long-time safety director in the construction industry I say "IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!"

OSHA finally announced the withdrawel of a 1995 directive that allowed residential builders to ignore many fall protection requirements. According to OSHA, the 1995 directive was meant to be "temporary" until feasible fall protection solutions could be found. Well, there have been feasible solutions long before now so, IT'S ABOUT TIME!

OSHA's action rescinds the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction, Standard 03-00-001. Prior to the issuance of this new directive, Standard 03-00-001 allowed employers engaged in certain residential construction activities to use specified alternative methods of fall protection rather than conventional fall protection required by the residential construction fall protection standard. With the issuance of this new directive, all residential employers must comply with 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13). Where residential builders fine that traditional fall protection is not feasible in residential environments, 29 CFR 501(b)(13) still allows for alternate means of providing protection. In my opinion, it will be very rare that conventional fall protection cannot be used. About 1996, the Saf-T-Strap made creating safe anchor points very easy.

Construction and roofing companies have up to six months to comply with the new directive. OSHA has developed training and compliance assistance materials for small employers adn will host a webinar for parties interested in learning more about complying with the standard. To view the new directive, visit http://www.osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html.

It is also my opinion that compliance, in most cases, is very easy and inexpensive, and it should not take six months to comply.

Friday, January 14, 2011

FMCSA Issues Proposed Rule on Hours-of-Service Requirements for Commercial Truck Drivers

The US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December issued a regulatory proposal that would revice hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for commercial truck drivers.
"A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We are committed to an hours-of-service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job."
The publication of this proposed rule coincides with the timeframe established in a court settlement agreement that requires FMCSA to publish a final HOS rule by 26 July 2011.
This new HOS proposal would retain the "34-hour restart" provision allowing drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. However, the restart period would have to include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6:00 am. Drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.
Additionally, the proposal would require commercial truck drivers to complete all driving within a 14-hour workday, and to complete all on-duty work-related activities within 13 hours to allow for at least a one hour break. It also leaves open for comment whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours of daily driving time, although FMCSA currently favors a 10-hour limit.
"In January, we began this rulemaking process by hosting five public listening sessions with stakeholders across the country," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "This proposed rule provides another opportunity for the public to weigh in on a safety issue that impacts everyone on our roadways."
Driving hours are regulated by federal HOS rules, which are designed to prevent commercial vehicle-related crashes and fatalities by prescribing on-duty and rest periods for drivers.
Commercial truck drivers who violate this proposed rule would face civil penalties of up to @2,750 for each offense. Trucking companies that allow their drivers to violate the proposal's driving limits would face penalties of up to $11,000 for each offense.
Other key provisions include the option of extending a driver's daily shift to 16 hours twice a week to accommodate for issues such as loading and unloading at terminals or ports, and allowing drivers to count some time spent pared in their trucks toward off-duty hours.
A copy of the rulemaking proposal is available on FMCSA's website at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/HOS. The rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on 29 December 2010 and the public has 60 days to comment. Information on how to submit comments and evidentiary material is available at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/HOS.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Construction & Safety Acronyms


The newly revised 2010 edition of "Construction & Safety Acronyms" is now available for purchase. For details, visit www.lulu.com/product/paperback/construction-safety-acronyms/13052749


OSHA's Semiannual Regulatory Agenda is Available

OSHA's regulatory plan contains a statement of the Department's regulatory priorities and regulatory actions. It can be viewed at www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=21872

Among other things, OSHA will be continuing its review of the Bloodborne Pathogen standard. It will also be looking at exposure to Crystalline Silica, Confined Spaces in Construction, Electric Power Transmission and Distribution; Cranes and Derricks, and Methylene Chloride.

Click the hot-link above to get the details and time schedules for various actions.

Monday, December 20, 2010

OSHA Appoints New Head of the Construction Directorate

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, has appointed Jim Maddux as the new director of the agency's Directorate of Construction, effective 20 December 2010. Maddux most recently served in OSHA's Directorate of Standards adn Guidance as teh Director of the Office of Physical Hazards adn Acting Director of the Office of Engineering Safety. Maddux has held several leadership positions at OSHA, including Director of the Office of Maritime and Acting Deputy Director for the Directorate of Standards and Guidance.

He began his career with OSHA in 1990 as a statistician in the Office of Statistics, and joined the Directorate of Standards and Guidance in 1998. Maddux has been a project director, author and contributor to numerous OSHA standards and guidance projects, including the payment for personal protective equipment standard, injury and illness recordkeeping regulations, ergonomics guidelines, and several maritime standards and guidance products. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Maryland, University College, an associate's degree in computer information systems from Laramie County Community College, and an associate's degree in chemistry from Northern Wyoming Community College.

"Jim has been a valuable member of the OSHA team for over 20 years," said Michaels. "I congratulate him on his new position, and I am confident that he will be an effective leader in construction safety working to accomplish the agency's mission of protecting America's workers."

I will withold judgement on his appointment until I see how he performs, but I don't see any field experience listed in his credentials. Although field experience may not be necessary, it certainly gives an individual a different perspective.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fatal Fall From Scaffold

Trying to convince workers on construction sites that scaffold platforms must be "fully planked," and to get them to understand just what that means, can be difficult. Often, they cannot understand why it is so important.

Well, you can tell them about the guy in Canada who fell 20 feet to his death because he stepped through an opening in the scaffolding on which he was working.

Canada's "Journal of Commerce" reported yesterday that a 60 year old worker was found dead after the accident - there were no witnesses to the accident.

Read the whole story at www.journalofcommerce.com/article/id41936/

Monday, November 29, 2010

Robert Bosch Tool Corp Recalls Bosch Hammer Drills Due to Electrical Shock

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is ilegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Bosch Hammer Drills

Units: About 20,000 units

Importer: Robert Bosch Tool Corporation, of Mt. Prospect, Illinois

Hazard: The models have a grounding system and trigger switch that could cause ground wire abrasion and/or ground connector failure posing a shock hazard. In addition, the switch trigger could become stuck in the "on" position posing an injury hazard to the user.

Incidents: None

Description: Bosch 1/2 inch 2-speed Hammer Drill with model number HD19-2, HD19-2D, HD19-2L adn 1/2 inch 2-speed Hamer Drills with model number HD21-2 are included in this recall. "BOSCH" is printed in red lettering on the side of the drills.

Sold at: Home improvement, hardware and major retailers nationwide and various distributors from September 2009 through August 2010 for between $140 and $220.

Manufactured in: Switzerland

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the hammer drill and return hammer drill to Robert Bosch Tool Corporation for repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Bosch toll-free at (866) 244-2110 between 7 am and 7 pm CT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at http://www.boschtools.com/






COSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell them about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx