The most interesting news out of OSHA this last week included the following tidbits:
SST-12 is an inspection plan that outlines the establishments OSHA is targeting for site-specific inspections. The target list is based on Days Away, Resticted, or Transferred (DART) rates and Days Away from Work Injury and Illness (DAFWII) rates from 2010, which were collected in 2011. OSHA compiles a list of the high-rate employers for inspection.
Those sites targeted under SST-12 do not include construction sites and are primarily focused on establishments with more than 20 or more employees. In addition to SST-12, OSHA also has National Emphasis Inspection Programs designed to target high-risk industries and/or specific types of injuries (e.g., amputations, nursing and residential care facilities, combustible dust).
Information for SST is derived from OSHA Recordkeeping data companies are required to maintain. The collection of this data is handled through the ODI or OSHA Data Initiative. For manufacturing establishments, OSHA is targeting facilities with a DART rate at or above 7.0 or DAFWII rates at or above 5.0. For non-manufacturing facilities, the target DART rate is 15.0 and the target DAFWII rate is 14.0.
As has been widely reported, this year’s flu season has been especially rough. According to a NYDailyNews article, the CDC says 29 states are reporting high or “severe” cases and is one of the worst seasons of the last 10 years. OSHA has a dedicated flu Webpage to help employers and employees prepare and respond to influenza.
A list of recommendations for protecting yourself in the workplace (during a pandemic – which the CDC is not ready to call this year’s flu season) are as follows:
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or with a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve. Dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptacles.
- Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with coworkers and customers.
- Avoid shaking hands and always wash your hands after physical contact with others.
- If wearing gloves, always wash your hands after removing them.
- Keep frequently touched common surfaces (for example, telephones, computer equipment, etc.) clean.
- Try not to use other workers' phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
- Minimize group meetings; use e-mails, phones and text messaging. If meetings are unavoidable, avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with others and ensure that the meeting room is properly ventilated.
- Limit unnecessary visitors to the workplace.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle; attention to rest, diet, exercise and relaxation helps maintain physical and emotional health.
Additional guidance on the flu can be found at flu.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
OSHA understands that health care workers are on the front line of occupational injuries. To provide guidance to “physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other health care professionals,” on areas effecting occupational health, including laws and regulations around privacy and reporting, OSHA has established a Webpage dedicated to clinicians. The Webpage aggregates relevant information from across OSHA’s website and from other agencies.
Topics covered on the page include:
- Occupational Health Practice
- Ethics and Confidentiality in Occupational Health
- Evaluating Occupational Exposures and Injuries
- Medical Screening and Surveillance
- Medical Records – Laws and Confidentiality
- OSHA Requirements for Occupational Medical Records
- Recordkeeping – The OSHA 300 Log
- Reporting a Dangerous Workplace
- Setting up a Safe Outpatient Office
- Workers' Compensation
- Additional OSHA Resources
- Additional Governmental, Academic, Clinical and Professional Resources
For HR personnel, safety professionals, and others that routinely deal with injury and illness in the workplace, the page provides a number of resources that could prove useful.
OSHA reported this week that the Office of Management and Budget has published the Fall unified agenda, which includes a list of Department of Labor Agency Rule List. Highlights from OSHA include information that its Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) standard is in the PreRule Stage with an “expected” NPRM coming in December 2013, and the Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements update and revisions are in the Final Rule stage – which it expects to take final action on by May of 2013.
The latter would revise the reporting requirements around hospitalizations and amputations. Currently, employers are required to report to OSHA within 8 hours any in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. That number would be lowered to the in-patient hospitalization of any employee.