Risky Business

Prepare Your Company for an Unexpected OSHA Visit

Posted by Goosmann Law Team on Jan 2, 2015 3:13:23 AM

OSHA can be like the Boogie Man... are you and your company prepared for an unwelcomed OSHA visit?

Industry savvy individuals know OSHA has increased enforcement to levels never seen before, resulting in huge increases in the numbers of inspections and citations characterized as "willful" or "repeat" to more criminal referrals. OSHA also has rolled out recently a series of enforcement initiatives and programs that have created a minefield for employers across all industries, and which have disproportionately impacted small and mid-sized employers. For example, OSHA's new Severe Violator Enforcement Program is ten times more likely to ensnare small and mid-sized employers simply because these organizations either didn't know the rules/common items being inspected and thus couldn't react or fix them prior to being inspected. Similarly, OSHA's policies of driving up minimum penalties have significantly harmed small employers. Don’t lull yourself, as an employer, into thinking all is fine on the safety side simply because you have not been inspected by OSHA yet. One serious accident or injury can provide an unwelcomed visit from OSHA.

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Topics: Risk Manager on Your Side, Construction News and Insights

Attorney Bruce Smith Spoke at Business & Industry Seminar

Posted by Goosmann Law Team on Oct 17, 2014 5:39:54 AM

Attorney Bruce Smith of the Goosmann Law Firm spoke at the 2014 Business & Industry Seminar sponsored by Cain Ellsworth & Company, LLP on October 28th at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center, Iowa.

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Topics: Business News and Insights, Firm News, Risk Manager on Your Side, Construction News and Insights

New OSHA Rule Affects Employer Reporting Requirements

Posted by Goosmann Law Team on Oct 2, 2014 3:57:57 AM

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a final rule with new requirements for reporting work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses. The revised rule requires employers to report work-related fatalities within 8 hours and work-related hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours.

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Topics: Business News and Insights, Risk Manager on Your Side, Construction News and Insights

"Struck-By" Accidents

Posted by Goosmann Law Team on Mar 28, 2014 6:27:46 AM

March 28, 2014. Recently, in Nebraska, a construction company was cited by OSHA following an employee's death caused by a front end loader striking the employee. Causes of "struck-by" accidents typically involve reverse vehicle movement into a pedestrian outside the driver's field of vision, or vehicles falling off ramps, inclines or unstable ground. According to OSHA in Region VII out of Kansas City, "struck-by" hazards continue to be one of the leading causes of injury to workers. OSHA has investigated 37 cases in the past six years in Region VII in which a worker was fatally injured from a struck-by vehicle incident. The fatality in Nebraska also involved the employer's failure to properly conduct safety inspection of the vehicle being driven that struck the employee. It is often times the case that employers do not provide for regular and verifiable equipment specific safety inspections as otherwise required under OSHA regulations.

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Topics: Risk Manager on Your Side, Construction News and Insights

Ladder Safety: Don't Overlook It

Posted by Goosmann Law Team on Feb 28, 2014 10:32:26 AM

February 28, 2014. For many employers, ladder safety on the job site is an often overlooked priority involving a risk that can lead to serious injury and death. I personally have defended companies whose employees fell to the their tragic death from a simple step ladder incident. More than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year. Elevated falls account for almost 700 occupational deaths annually. These deaths account for 15% of all occupational deaths. OSHA believes 100% of all ladder accidents could be prevented if proper attention to equipment and climber training were provided. Over the last 10 years the amount of ladder-related injuries has increased 50%. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50% of all ladder-related accidents were due to individuals carrying items as they climbed. The most common type of ladder-related injury, with 32%, is fractures.

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Topics: Risk Manager on Your Side, Construction News and Insights

New OSHA rule: Updates ANSI Standards for Safety Signs & Tags

Posted by Goosmann Law Team on Feb 13, 2014 5:06:45 AM

February 13, 2014. OSHA recently issued a direct final rule incorporating into its general industry and construction standards the latest versions of the American National Standards Institute (“ANSI”) standards for safety signs and tags, ANSI Z535.2-2011 and Z535.5-2011, respectively. The new OSHA rule, which took effect in September 2013, updates OSHA’s 1971 workplace safety sign and tag formats with today’s best practice safety signage designs as defined by the latest ANSI Z535 standards. Click this link for additional info.

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Topics: Risk Manager on Your Side, Construction News and Insights

OSHA's Multi-Employer Worksite Liability Policy: Risk Management Area of Concern

Posted by Jamie Modicue on Aug 22, 2013 11:36:03 AM

August 22, 2013. OSHA's multi-employer worksite liability policy is a risk management area of concern construction site owners and general contractors should be aware of. Project teams should recognize the different types of employers and their safety duties and responsibilities and also how to pre-plan the safety of their employees for each workplace activity in order to proactively prevent injuries and deaths. There are times when the facility owner will be acting as the general contractor. Even delegating general site construction activity to a general contractor does not necessarily absolve the facility owner from OSHA liability. OSHA Directives CPL 02-00-124 and CPL 2-0.124 -- Multi-Employer Citation Policy (Dec. 10, 1999). Multi-employer Worksite policy, states: "On multi-employer worksites (in all industry sectors), more than one employer may be citable for a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA Standard." The following two-step process determines when one or more employers should be cited: 1. Establish if the employer falls into one of these categories: Controlling, Exposing, Creating and/or Correcting. 2. Establish the employer's obligations for the category(ies) in which they are grouped. For more information about OSHA multi-employer worksite liability policies and how facility owners and contractors are affected, contact: Bruce Smith at the Goosmann Law Firm, 410 5th St., Sioux City, Iowa 51101 whose practice includes Environmental, Health & Safety, Risk Management and Business Manufacturing. Email: bruce@goosmannlaw.com.

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Topics: Business News and Insights, Risk Manager on Your Side, Construction News and Insights