January 4, 2019

Workplace Safety: A 2018 Review

Workplace safety is constantly evolving in order to keep up with advances within the industrial world. Technology and innovation play a major role in machine safety, reducing emergencies, and improving overall productivity within your company. Following safety best practices is something that every business should do, especially as new rules and regulations emerge.

When it comes to workplace safety, OSHA compliance is critical. If you aren’t following the rules, you could be fined or worse, one of your employees could get hurt. OSHA has rules and regulations put in place that pertain to fall protection, machine guard safety, hazard communications, ladders, and much more. In this past year, there have been several OSHA changes—along with other trends and advancements within the safety realm.

Safety Changes

This year has been full of innovation and technological improvements when it comes to keeping your employees and workplaces safe. For example, something that is always at the forefront of safety is effective communication. And thanks to advances in technologies like augmented reality and GPS, today’s employers have access to more advanced communication tools than ever before to promote safety and efficiency.

Making sure your company has an effective way of communicating with each and every employee in case of emergencies is critical. Utilizing tools such as mass notification systems can be beneficial to send out information to employees in the event of an emergency. Mobile technologies can even be used to receive location data and other information from employees if need be. Through the use of mobile technology, employees can receive immediate communications when necessary—fostering smarter and safer work environments.

Throughout this year, OSHA has proposed and finalized several new rules and regulations that are crucial for safety.

Some of the OSHA rules and regulations include:

  • OSHA issued a final rule on crane operator certification requirements. Employers are required to train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate them, and document successful completion of the evaluations.

  • OSHA is initiating the Site-Specific Targeting 2016 (SST-16) Program, using injury and illness information electronically submitted by employers for calendar year (CY) 2016. The program will target high injury rate establishments in both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors for inspection.

  • This year, they also updated the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on preventing trenching and excavation collapses in response to a recent spike in trenching fatalities.

  • OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for general industry and maritime became enforceable on June 23, 2018. It requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers.

OSHA’s Most Cited Violations

Every year, OSHA releases their top 10 most cited violations. This year, they were the following:

  • Fall protection general requirements

  • Hazard communication

  • Scaffolding

  • Respiratory protection

  • Lockout/tagout

  • Ladders

  • Powered industrial trucks

  • Fall protection training requirements

  • Machine guarding

  • Personal protective & lifesaving equipment (eye and face protection)

Within each of these sectors, there are several different sub-sections that were violated. As for the most common offense, fall protection general requirements came out on top with 7,216 total violations. Hazard communication was second with 4,537 violations. These figures drive home the importance of making sure that your company is taking the proper measures to ensure the safety of your employees.

Staying in the Safety Standards Loop

With safety techniques and regulations always changing, it’s important to stay in the loop. As a safety professional you should be constantly looking out for new ways to improve the safety of your employees and worksites. Having regular machine guarding assessments, like those we do at Stronghold® Safety, will help to make sure that you are maximizing employee safety and efficiency. Also, be sure to stay up to date with news and education through the Stronghold® Safety Blog, OSHA website, Safety and Health magazine, and attending safety conferences throughout the year.

Create a Safer Workplace with a Customized Solution from Stronghold®

Our team here at Stronghold® Safety can identify potential dangers in your workplace for machine guarding issues, recommend the most effective solutions, and implement them so you can rest easier knowing you’re prepared for just about anything related to machine guarding. We can help create and implement a customized plan that protects your employees and your business or assist in finding the right product to self install in our online store. Contact us today to get started on building a safer and more efficient business.