Industry News

Industry News

Texas Companies Rack Up OSHA Penalties

Three Texas companies are facing federal penalties totaling more than $277,000 for failing to provide safe environments for their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited and fined CPE Feeds Inc. in Lubbock, JFM International Inc. in Willis and Subfloor Systems Inc. in Hurst for workplace hazards and safety violations.

OSHA identified 22 violations at CPE Feeds, which manufactures feed and sells used agricultural machinery for processing feed. The violations include: lack of guarding on machines; exposed energized wires; lack of guarding on runways and platforms; lack of handrails on stairwells, welding cylinders not properly stored, fire extinguishers not kept in designated locations, using flexible cords as fixed wiring, and not providing hearing protection. OSHA has proposed $83,059 in penalties against CPE Feeds.

In September, OSHA investigated JFM International’s facility after receiving complaints from an employee. Investigators found machines with exposed rotating parts lacking safeguards to protect against amputation or serious injury. Workers were also overexposed to noise which can lead to hearing loss. OSHA cited the company for three serious health violations, including not protecting employees from electrical and flammable chemical hazards and failing to record a workplace injury. JFM International faces proposed penalties totaling $107,952.

Subfloor Systems Inc. is a flooring subcontractor in the Dallas area. OSHA found that the company was exposing workers to dangerous falls at a construction site. During a site visit in September, OSHA investigators observed a Subfloor Systems’ foreman and other employees working without fall protection at the construction site of a commercial building. The agency cited the company with one willful violation for exposing workers to potential falls. In January 2016, OSHA had previously cited the company with a willful violation following an investigation into an employee’s serious injury after falling 22 feet. The proposed OSHA penalties against Subfloor Systems total $87,297.

All three companies have 15 days following the date of the citations to comply or protest the citations and penalties.

Source:  Insurance Journal 12/9/16 and OSHA.
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Topics: OSHA

OSHA “NEW” Electronic Reporting Rule

OSHA can begin enforcing its rule restricting safety incentives and drug testing programs, a federal judge decided Nov. 28 ( TEXO ABC/AGC v. Perez , N.D. Tex., No. 16-1998, 11/28/16 ).

OSHA has succeeded in defeating the temporary injunction on its new electronic recordkeeping rule that also addresses injury reporting and drug testing in the workplace.  The November 28th ruling by a judge in the Northern district of Texas allows OSHA to begin the enforcement as of December 1, 2016.  The final rule becomes effective January 1, 2017.

What does this mean for Employers?

All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301. Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.

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Topics: OSHA

OSHA’s 2016 Top Ten Violations

OSHA has released its initial list of the top ten safety and health violations for fiscal year 2016. Over the past five years, the same violations have made the list with only slight variations in the order. The final list will be released by OSHA at the end of 2016:

1. Fall protection (Construction) – 1926.501

Violations are generally for failing to provide adequate fall protection to employees working at elevated heights.

2. Hazard communication – 1910.1200

Violations are generally for lack of hazard communication program or inadequate training.

3. Scaffolds (Construction) – 1926.451

Violations are generally for improper access to scaffolds and improper assembly, such a missing planking.

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Topics: OSHA

Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing developed a comprehensive drug and alcohol program, had HR look it over and even sent it to your attorney for review.  Are you meeting all compliance regulations?  Well, you thought you were until OSHA decided to change the game slightly.  OSHA, within its new electronic record keeping rule, has added language that targets company wide post-accident drug/alcohol testing.  Simply, OSHA has come out to say that if a person is injured and drug use or alcohol use could not have contributed to the cause, then the injured employee should not be tested for being under the influence.  

This new rule has been delayed until December 1, 2016 in order for the courts to come to a decision, as many companies and leading industry agencies have filed lawsuits against OSHA.  Please see an excellent article from Ogletree Deakins about this new proposed regulation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a memorandum explaining “in more detail” two provisions added to the recordkeeping regulation: Section 1904.35(b)(1)(i) requiring “employers to have a reasonable procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses”; and Section 1904.35(b)(1)(iv) prohibiting retaliation for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. As we have previously reported, OSHA identified post-accident drug testing and safety incentive plans as programs that may result in impermissible retaliation against employees who report injuries when the amendments to the recordkeeping regulation were issued on May 12, 2016.

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Topics: Human Resources

New OSHA Silica Rule: What are the first steps our company should take?

When it comes to getting started in meeting the compliance requirements of the new OSHA Silica Rule, your order of controls may look like this to help you get started in the right direction:

9 Compliance Requirements

1. Conduct air sampling for baseline exposure for all processes and check regulated areas.  

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Topics: OSHA

Introducing The TCOR BenAdmin Platform

In today’s day and age of maximizing time and resources to their fullest in order to achieve business goals, it’s always nice when you can streamline any paper and time intensive process in favor of using the time you gain for more important projects.

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Topics: TCOR News, Benefits

How Safeco RightTrack® Works

Do you consider yourself a good driver? If so, you could get major discounts on your Auto Insurance!

At Safeco, they believe good drivers deserve to be rewarded. Through their RightTrack® program, now available in Texas, you can install a device in your car that recognizes your good driving habits and earn a discount of up to 30%. You can earn a 5% discount just for participating! 

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Topics: Auto Insurance

Postive Workplace Drug Tests on the Rise

A recent study conducted by Quest Diagnostics has revealed the number of positive on the job drug test has been going up every year since 2011. The annual survey used in the study examined approximately 11 million workplace drug test results in 2015. Below is a quick run down on what the results disclosed:

  • The rate of amphetamine, marijuana and heroin detection has increased every year for the past five years.
  • 45% of all U.S. workers who tested positive in 2015 showed evidence of marijuana use.
  • Positive test results for heroin increased 146% over the last four years, while positive test results for oxycodone decreased slightly.
  • Amphetamine positivity increased 44% since 2011.
  • Marijuana positivity increased 26% since 2011.
  • Post-accident positivity rates have increased 30% since 2011.
  • In oral fluid drug testing, the overall positivity rate increased 47% since 2011, driven primarily by large increases in positive marijuana results.
  • 9% of job applicants could not pass a pre-employment hair drug test in 2015.
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Topics: Industry News

New Drone Regulations Are in Effect

As of August 29, 2016, commercial enterprises are free to use unmanned aircraft (drones) weighing less than 55 pounds within the parameters of the small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rules outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR Part 107) without obtaining any special authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The small UAS rules regulate three key areas:

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Topics: Industry News

What a Workplace Violence Prevention Program Should Include

Recently an employer in the medical service industry was fined $98,000 for failing to protect its employees from workplace violence. The OSHA investigation determined the employer had received numerous reports of verbal, physical and sexual assaults on employees, as well as a report of an employee forced to work in a house in which domestic violence occurred. In addition, OSHA concluded that the employer had no system for reporting threats or incidents of violence in the workplace. For these reasons, OSHA cited the employer for one willful violation for failing to maintain a safe workplace under OSHA’s General Duty Clause. A willful violation is defined by OSHA as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with the legal requirement, purposefully disregarded the requirement or acted with indifference to employee safety. OSHA also cited the employer for a records violation.

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Topics: Workplace Safety

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