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Hazard Alert: Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces

January 28, 2015 Comments off

Hazard Alert: Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces
Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Every year, workers are killed or seriously injured while performing snow or ice removal from rooftops and other building structures, such as decks. OSHA has investigated 16 such serious injuries or fatalities in the past 10 years—all of which could have been prevented.

Snow removal is performed for a number of reasons, such as to prevent overloading and collapse, or for construction or repair of decking or roofs. Often workers climb directly onto the roofs or structures and use equipment such as shovels, snow rakes, snow blowers, ladders, etc. Other times these operations may be performed from the ground level using snow rakes. Aerial lifts are sometimes used to access roofs and apply de-icing materials. Snow removal operations are often performed under extreme weather conditions (e.g., cold, high winds, icy surfaces). Workers who perform these activities (for example, building maintenance workers) may have little experience or training on the hazards of such operations or work.

Workers performing snow removal operations are exposed to many serious hazards. Based on the findings of OSHA investigations falls cause the most worker fatalities and injuries during rooftop snow removal. Workers may fall off roof edges, through skylights, and from ladders and aerial lifts. Workers may also be injured or killed by a roof collapse.

See also: Working in a Winter Wonderland: 4 Things to Know in the Snow

New From the GAO

March 19, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Whistleblower Protection Program: Opportunities Exist for OSHA and DOT to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms. GAO-14-286, March 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-286
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661769.pdf

US Department of Labor’s OSHA announces outreach campaign to protect health care workers from hazards causing musculoskeletal disorders

July 19, 2013 Comments off

US Department of Labor’s OSHA announces outreach campaign to protect health care workers from hazards causing musculoskeletal disorders
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a campaign to raise awareness about the hazards likely to cause musculoskeletal disorders among health care workers responsible for patient care. These disorders include sprains, strains, soft tissue and back injuries.

As part of the campaign, OSHA is providing 2,500 employers, unions and associations in the health care industry in Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia with information about methods used to control hazards, such as lifting excessive weight during patient transfers and handling. OSHA is also providing information about how employers can include a zero-lift program, which minimizes direct patient lifting by using specialized lifting equipment and transfer tools.

In 2010, there were 40,030 occupational MSD cases in private industry nationwide where the source of injury or illness was a health care patient or resident of a health care facility. For MSD cases involving patient handling, 99 percent were the result of overexertion, resulting in sprain, strain, or tear injuries. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants incurred occupational injuries or illnesses in 49 percent of the MSD cases involving health care patients. Registered nurses accounted for 17 percent, and home health aides for another six percent.

New From the GAO

April 18, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Securities And Exchange Commission: Continued Management Attention Would Strengthen Internal Supervisory Controls. GAO-13-314, April 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-314
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653956.pdf

2. Defense Infrastructure: Improved Guidance Needed for Estimating Alternatively Financed Project Liabilities. GAO-13-337, April 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-337
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653911.pdf

3. 911 Services: Most States Used 911 Funds for Intended Purposes, but FCC Could Improve Its Reporting on States’ Use of Funds. GAO-13-376, April 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-376
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653930.pdf

4. Satellite Control: Long-Term Planning and Adoption of Commercial Practices Could Improve DOD’s Operation. GAO-13-315, April 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-315
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654010.pdf

5. Workplace Safety and Health: OSHA Can Better Respond to State-Run Programs Facing Challenges. GAO-13-320, April 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-320
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653800.pdf

6. Status of Funding, Equipment, and Training for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. GAO-13-367R, March 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-367R

US Department of Labor’s OSHA issues updated Whistleblower Investigations Manual

September 24, 2011 Comments off

US Department of Labor’s OSHA issues updated Whistleblower Investigations Manual
Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a new edition of its Whistleblower Investigations Manual, one of a series of measures to improve OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program that were announced in August.

The new edition of the manual contains updates to case handling procedures, information on the new laws enacted since the manual was last updated in 2003, and other information to guide OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, which addresses retaliation complaints under the 21 whistleblower statutes delegated to OSHA (see below for a full list of statutes). This new manual will provide further guidance to help ensure the consistency and quality of investigations. The updated manual is available athttp://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=5061.

“The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their legal rights without fear of retaliation is crucial to many of the legal protections and safeguards that all Americans value,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels when these measures were announced in August.

Key changes to the manual include:

US Department of Labor’s OSHA announces measures to improve Whistleblower Protection Program

August 4, 2011 Comments off

US Department of Labor’s OSHA announces measures to improve Whistleblower Protection Program
Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

In a continuing effort to improve the Whistleblower Protection Program, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that it is implementing additional measures to strengthen the program and is releasing an internal report detailing a recent top-to-bottom review of the program. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 21 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

+ Top to Bottom Report and Summary of OSHA Actions

OSHA QuickTakes — August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011 Comments off

OSHA QuickTakes — August 1, 2011
Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

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