The Year's Biggest News Items Regarding Worker Health
The top 10 safety stories of 2010
From massive tragedies caused by safety lapses to a renewed, enforcement-driven OSHA, 2010 was a major year for the safety industry. Here are the top 10 safety stories of last year, in no particular order, compiled by the editors of Safety Compliance Alert.
1. Multiple-fatality incidents spur call for OSHA/MSHA reform. From BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine explosion, much of 2010 was marked by tragedy. Those disasters prompted lawmakers to push for reform with the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act. The bill ultimately failed in the last weeks of the lame-duck Congress.
2. New Crane & Derricks Rule. The new standard replaces the 40-yearold rule and affects nearly 5 million workers.
3. Per-instance violations. OSHA continued to hit companies with larger fines by issuing citations based on the total number of hazards present or workers exposed.
4. National Emphasis Program on Recordkeeping. Firms were hit with massive fines for failing to properly document injuries and near-misses.
5. Noise standard update. OSHA announced changes that may force companies to make big adjustments to hearing conservation programs.
6. State plan audits. Federal OSHA took a close look at enforcement efforts of the 25 state-run plans.
7. Injury & Illness Prevention Programs. This proposal would change how many companies handle safety -from complying with OSHA regs to identifying hazards on their own.
8. Commercial texting ban. Drivers are no longer allowed to text behind the wheel.
9. Greater whistleblower protection. Now it's easier for workers to log complaints against their employers, and they have more legal options if companies retaliate.
10. Ergonomics column on OSHA 300 logs. It's still not finalized, but companies may soon have to report ergo injuries to OSHA.
Reprinted with permission from:
Safety Compliance Alert 1/20/11
Fri, February 4, 2011
by Kim Bowman