The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to play a more active role in ensuring employee safety through its investigations and enforcement actions. In 2014, over 39,000 inspections were conducted, with a strong focus on companies in the chemical facility and refinery industries, as well as organizations with a large number of temporary employees. Some of the most cited standards in 2014 include fall protection, hazard communication, and respiratory protection, lockout/tag out procedures, and electrical wiring and systems design. As OSHA regulations continue to play an active role, it is vital for any organization to understand both the new regulations and the enforcement priorities.

Twice each year, OSHA releases it regulatory agenda, which serves as a primer for understanding both the upcoming changes to written standards and enforcement priorities. The most recent report indicated potential actions on 26 different OSHA regulations, but more importantly identified two relevant regulations which either already have gone into effect, or should be active during the 2015 calendar year: the updated written standards related to slips, trips, and falls, and the record keeping rule.

Slips, Trips & Falls

It is anticipated that the revised slips, trips, and falls regulations will be finalized in June 2015. The changes in this written standard will have impact on maintenance operations. The slip, trip, and fall rules will update standards to further prevent injuries on walking and working surfaces, and updates personal protective equipment standards.

The revised statutes would expand the use of self-retracting lanyards, and would allow OSHA to fine employers who allow employees to use certain ladders without fall protection. The enforcement of ladder safety across all industries may require a shift in staffing for maintenance organizations.

Updates to the Record keeping Rule

The more significant change to OSHA regulations is in the record keeping rule. Effective January 1, 2015, all employers located in states of Federal OSHA jurisdiction, including those exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 Log, are required to report the following:

  • All work-related fatalities within 8 hours of finding out about them;
  • All work-related inpatient hospitalizations of one or more employees within 24 hours of employer knowledge; and
  • All work-related amputations or losses of an eye, also within 24 hours of finding out about them.

This updated standard is stronger than previous regulations. Prior to 2015, an employer was required to report inpatient hospitalizations only if three or more employees were hospitalized, but this restriction has now been removed. Additionally, the timeliness requirements identified above place more responsibility upon employers to communicate information quickly.

Equipment Maintenance Can Protect Your Employees

Ensuring safety will greatly enhance productivity while minimizing the risk of injury. The use of EAM/CMMS software will simplify the maintenance process for your organization, and ensure all maintenance is completed in a safe and timely manner. Through the use of asset safety procedures, safety flagging, and safety priority codes, the technicians completing the maintenance will be fully aware of all safety risks. Historical compliance information is then available for OSHA and other regulatory organizations.  To learn more about DPSI’s maintenance software, contact us or sign up for a free trial of our software services today.