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Safety in the News

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Every week, we bring you the latest headlines from the world of safety and keep you updated on the issues that matter most.

Trump Reopens Debate Over Safety Standards for Construction Toxin

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hitting the pause button on some new safety measures for the beryllium toxin.

Trace amounts of beryllium are found in coal slag, a gritty byproduct made at coal-burning power plants and commonly sold to shipyards. It is used to blast paint hulls, tanks and other steel surfaces on ships and turns up in general construction work as well. Long-term exposure can be deadly when materials containing beryllium are used in a way that creates dust or fumes.

In the waning days of the Obama administration, the federal government published stricter exposure standards for beryllium. But now, in the name of weighing costs versus benefits, the Trump administration has reopened debate over the new standards. Specifically, OSHA wants more debate on some ancillary provisions in the standards that relate to medical monitoring, protective equipment and certain housekeeping measures.

Some industry officials and members of Congress have raised concerns about a lack of opportunity to comment on whether the construction and maritime industries should be included in these new rules. OSHA said in a press release that the ancillary provisions "may not improve worker protection and (may) be redundant with overlapping protections in other standards.”

Ultimately, safety legislation is passed down to companies who have to integrate it into their systems and just as important, into the culture of the way the company works. Read this resource on integrating culture with systems.

Workplace Safety Accord Extended

Organizers have agreed to extend a workplace safety accord that could improve working conditions around the world. The ground-breaking Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety was initiated in 2013 following the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed 1,138 workers. The legally-binding agreement is credited with establishing safer working conditions for four million garment workers in that country.

The new Accord agreement, which goes into effect in May 2018, strengthens several aspects of the original program. These include:

  • Reinforced protections for workers against retaliation for expressing safety concerns and for seeking to organize a union
  • Mandatory severance payments for factory closures
  • Tightened requirements to correct identified hazards in a timely fashion
  • Improved dispute resolution between brands and unions

The Accord involves 217 clothing brands and retailers covering 2.5 million workers in more than 1,600 factories in the “ready-made garment” industry. The industry produces 80 percent of Bangladesh’s export earnings and is second only to China in world apparel production. Read more on the accomplishments the accord has had so far.

Many times, improving safety can have side benefits such as increased productivity. See how one company increased their productivity with new a new safety implementation.

NIOSH Announces New Training Program for Workplace Safety

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has announced it will pilot test a new training program for workplace safety. The program, called Developing Work Safety Skills, is a collaboration between NIOSH and a private-industry led board in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Organizers say the training program will provide young adults in the area the basics of workplace health and safety. NIOSH says it will be a highly interactive training program teaching skills in a fun and interesting way.

NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard says, "This program will not only ensure the health and safety of these young workers in their first jobs, it will empower them to make safety and health on the job a priority throughout their working lives."

Acknowledging differences in age and how they affect work styles is important. DEKRA recently published a blog post on how generation gaps impact safety experience at work.

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Sunday, 17 February 2019