OSHA proposes rule to better protect personal information
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a specific individual by removing provisions of the "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" rule, according to www.osha.gov. OSHA believes the proposal helps maintain safety and health protections for workers, protects privacy and reduces the burdens of complying with the current rule.
NRCA has been pushing for this change because of the rule's privacy issues and is pleased to see OSHA's proposal.
The proposed rule eliminates the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees that currently are required to maintain injury and illness records. These establishments would be required to electronically submit information only from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).
Under the current record-keeping rule, the originally scheduled deadline for electronic submission of 2017 information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301 was July 1.
However, OSHA currently is not accepting Form 300 or 301 data and will not enforce the deadline for these two forms without further notice while the rulemaking is underway. The electronic portal collecting Form 300A data is accepting 2017 data, although submissions after July 1, 2018, will be marked late.
CDC suggests heat stress risk starts at 85 F
Following an analysis of 25 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) heat-related illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested employers start screening their workers for heat stress when the heat index reaches 85 F instead of the 91 F OSHA currently recommends, according to www.constructiondive.com. Heat stress covers a variety of illnesses, including life-threatening heat stroke.
The CDC's suggestion comes as OSHA's review commission considers a case regarding a citation issued after the death of a temporary agency worker laboring on a commercial roof system in Ohio in 2012. The review commission's decision could help determine how far an employer must go to protect workers from heat stress.
The case began in August 2012 when a 60-year-old worker collapsed at a job site and was admitted to a hospital with a temperature of 105.4 F. The worker died from the effects of heat stroke 21 days later. OSHA opened its investigation in January 2013 and issued citations for two serious violations for failing to adequately train workers to recognize and avoid heat hazards and a general duty clause violation for not taking precautions to protect employees from high heat.
On June 7, OSHA's review commission heard opposing opinions about why the violations should be upheld or discarded. There is no deadline by which the commission must issue a decision.
Fourteen of the OSHA heat-related illnesses cases the CDC analyzed were fatal, and 11 were nonfatal. Six of the fatalities occurred when the heat index was less than 91 F, and four fatalities occurred when the heat index was between 85 F and 90 F.
OSHA does not have specific workplace standards regarding heat stress, but the agency does recommend employers implement an acclimatization program that gradually gets workers used to being in the heat, provide first aid training, make sure workers drink plenty of fluids and give employees rest breaks in a shaded area. OSHA also recommends workers and on-site supervisors be trained to recognize the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, as well as how to treat them. Additional information about heat illnesses is available at www.osha.gov/heat.
NLRB says employer is guilty of unfair labor practice
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided a construction contractor illegally asked an employee whether he signed a union card, reversing a ruling by one of the agency's administrative law judges, according to Bloomberg Law.
In 2015, Valentine Verissimo, owner of C.O. Sabino Corp., Philadelphia, approached employee Thomas Boroughs at work and asked him whether he had signed a union card. Boroughs lied and said he hadn't. Later, Verissimo told Boroughs: "I don't want no union on my job site I don't want a union here."
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Susan A. Flynn said the questioning of Boroughs wasn't coercive and dismissed an unfair labor practice allegation by a Pennsylvania council of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
The union appealed, and the NLRB disagreed with the ALJ.
For more than 30 years, the board has said it will consider a "totality of circumstances" when determining whether questions about union activity constitute unlawful interrogation.
The board found the questioning of Boroughs at his work site by a high-ranking company official was coercive, and the employee's dishonest response to questioning indicated he viewed the question as threatening.
The board found the employer guilty of an unfair labor practice.
West Virginia roofing contractor cited for safety hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Design Roofing LLC, Hurricane, W.Va., for exposing employees to fall, electrocution and other workplace hazards at two residential construction sites, according to www.osha.gov. The company is not an NRCA member.
OSHA inspected Design Roofing's work sites in Culloden, W.Va., and Scott Depot, W.Va., after receiving complaints of employees working without proper fall protection. The agency issued willful violations for exposing workers to fall hazards and serious violations for allowing employees to work within close proximity to an energized conductor and improper use of an extension ladder. Proposed penalties total $101,988.
"Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction, but they can be prevented if employers comply with fall protection requirements," says Prentice Cline, OSHA's area office director for Charleston, S.C. "This employer's disregard of required safety procedures leaves employees vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious or fatal injuries."
Design Roofing has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
NRCA encourages its members to strictly adhere to OSHA regulations to avoid being cited.
OSHA cites Wisconsin roofing contractor for fall hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Carlos Ketz, a roofing contractor who operates as Ketz Roofing, Menasha, Wis., for the sixth time in five years for exposing employees to falls, according to www.osha.gov. Ketz Roofing is not an NRCA member.
OSHA inspectors cited Ketz after observing his employees working without adequate fall protection on a commercial building in Appleton, Wis. Proposed penalties total $48,777.
"Employers are required to provide fall protection to employees working in construction at heights above 6 feet," says Robert Bonack, OSHA's area office director for Appleton. "Ketz Roofing's repeated failure to comply with federal safety requirements exposes employees to fatal injuries from falls, which remains the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry."
Ketz has 15 business days from receipt of his citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Repeat OSHA violations by roofing contractors further harm the roofing industry's image, and NRCA encourages strict compliance with OSHA regulations.