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OSHA Funding Increase for 2020

In Washington last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a funding bill for a significant OSHA funding increase for 2020. With an allocation of $660.9 million for OSHA there is an increase of over $103 million more than what was proposed and overall $300,00 more than the 2019 approved budget.

The Department of Labor wants to “maximize flexibility and use alternative methods to develop and distribute training materials to reach the broadest possible audience” in lieu of the grants, the department’s budget summary states.

OSHA has a record low of 875 compliance safety & health officers presently. The largest increase of funds to the budget will be allocated to federal enforcement. As reported earlier this spring, more inspections and enforcement from OSHA can be expected in 2020.

View the full bill here.


Young Worker Safety

According to OSHA if you employ young workers you may have additional employer responsibilities. Young worker safety is especially important because it may be a person’s first job, or first job operating machinery or equipment. What is considered young? Ages up to even 24 can be classified as young workers. For children under the age of 18 there are federal and state labor laws that must be followed.

young worker safety

Employer Responsibilities for Young Worker Safety

  • Understand and comply with the relevant federal and state child labor laws. For example, these laws prohibit youth from working certain hours and from performing dangerous/hazardous work.
  • Ensure that young workers receive training to recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices. Training should be in a language and vocabulary that workers can understand and should include prevention of fires, accidents and violent situations and what to do if injured.
  • Implement a mentoring or buddy system for new young workers. Have an adult or experienced young worker answer questions and help the new young worker learn the ropes of a new job.
  • Encourage young workers to ask questions about tasks or procedures that are unclear or not understood. Tell them whom to ask.
  • Remember that young workers are not just “little adults.” You must be mindful of the unique aspects of communicating with young workers.
  • Ensure that equipment operated by young workers is both legal and safe for them to use. Employers should label equipment that young workers are not allowed to operate.
  • Tell young workers what to do if they get hurt on the job.

Employer Responsibilities for All Worker Safety

  • Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and follow all OSHA safety and health standards.
  • Find and correct safety and health hazards.
  • Inform employees about hazards in the workplace and train them about applicable OSHA standards in a language they understand.
  • Provide safety training on workplace hazards.
  • Provide the required personal protective equipment (PPE) and pay for most types of required PPE.

Highway Contractor Fall Protection

As safety culture continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for fall protection across all labor industries. For example, highway contractor fall protection is needed for asphalt mixing plants.

highway contractor fall protection

OSHA has cited Nelcon Inc., of Kalispell, Montana for 26 serious citations and two other violations. The proposed fines are $225,425 after an investigation into an accident in April. Two employees were burned in the accident, and one employee fell while pouring cooler oil into a hot oil tank. The worker that fell sustained injuries after a 15 foot fall and required hospitalization.

The OSHA fines were for failing to use fall protection systems and guard machinery; not providing sufficient personal protective equipment; failing to control hazardous energy; and not reporting a work-related incident leading to hospitalization within 24 hours. 


Construction Industry Fatality Map

Presented by OSHA with information from the Census of Fatal and Occupational Injuries, this construction industry fatality map identifies the locations within the United States that have had reported fatalities within the general construction industry.

The first map shows fatalities resulting from various causes.  The second map shows only fatal falls. If you are aware of a recent work-related construction fatality, please email

Construction Fatalities in the USA, Jan 1 – June 30, 2018

construction industry fatality map
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Construction Fall Fatalities in the USA, Jan 1 – June 30, 2018

construction fall fatalities map
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OSHA Worker Safety Grant

Last week an OSHA Worker Safety Grant for $10.5 million, the Susan Harwood Training Grant, was available. Eligibility is reserved for nonprofit organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes as well as universities and colleges.

OSHA worker safety grant

Grants are available in three areas: Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building.

  • Targeted Topic Training grants support educational programs that address identifying and preventing workplace hazards. These grants require applicants to conduct training on OSHA-designated workplace safety and health hazards.
  • Training and Educational Materials Development grants support the development of quality classroom-ready training and educational materials that focus on identifying and preventing workplace hazards.
  • Capacity Building grants support organizations in developing new capacity for conducting workplace safety and health training programs, and must provide training and education based on identified needs of a specific audience or a set of related topics.

Details on the grants and how to apply are available at  Harwood applications must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Applicants must possess a “D-U-N-S” number and have an active System of Award Management (SAM) registration. 


Construction Industry: Dropped Objects Cause Injuries

Dropped objects cause injuries in the workplace and according to OSHA they are ranked third. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2017 there were 45,940 reported injuries caused by struck or falling objects (5.2% of all workplace injuries. Out of those incidents, 695 resulted in fatalities.

Dropped Objects Cause Injuries

Other causes of injury and fatalities were falls. The BLS reported that in 2017, “fatal falls were at their highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), accounting for 887 (17 percent) of worker deaths.”

Falls in the workplace are completely preventable with proper planning and training. Fall Protection Systems is dedicated to providing safe solutions to make sure that all workers return home at the end of their shift. We provide many resources and solutions for our customers to both prevent falls, as well as tether equipment and tools to prevent injury from falling objects.


New Technology: Smart Lock Connected SRL

The 3M Smart Lock Connected SRL is the first digitally connected SRL in the fall protection industry. Brake event notifications are sent via mobile web app services. Additional features include a service light and time stamped usage data to confirm how and when it was used.

Smart Lock Connected SRL

Full Features

Now you can quickly make smart inventory management decisions using remote monitoring technology and the integrated Connected Safety RFID tag. All of this, available in one rugged, ergonomic SRL. 

  • The first digitally connected SRL in the fall protection industry
  • Brake event notifications sent via the mobile/web app, and a service light on the SRL, help improve incident reporting and response
  • Time stamped usage data (extensions, pawl locks, brake events) can help confirm when and how the SRL has been used
  • Get equipment status and usage statistics from multiple SRLs to enhance inventory management
  • Patented magnetic retraction control system allows lifeline to retract smoothly and hands free
  • Patented dual label system located within ergonomic cable handle simplifies inspections and reduces the need for replacement
  • 4 ft. fall clearance allows workers up to 310 lbs. to meet OSHA’s 1910.140 general industry rule
  • Rugged and extremely lightweight thermoplastic housing with ergonomic handle
  • Equipped with 3M™ Connected Safety ID (CSID), a pre-programed RFID tag that makes it easier to track and manage equipment using the 3M™ Inspection and Asset Management System

Download the Manual


Improper Fall Protection Proves Costly

When considering the cost of a fall, it is easy to focus only on OSHA penalties and fines. However, improper fall protection proves costly when you factor in lost wages, medical bills, and lawsuits. A recent fall at work was just settled with an employer for $7.8 million.

Raymond DeMarco, fell 10 feet from a platform on a construction site in Philadelphia. He was sandblasting and painting a bridge on November 16th, 2015. A faulting railing on a scaffold is to blame for the fall that caused spinal injuries as well as pneumonia that was contracted while in the hospital.

Improper Fall Protection Proves Costly

Loftus Construction, the defendant in the lawsuit allegedly violated OSHA standards by not ensuring safe working conditions. According to Larry Bendesky, the counsel for the plaintiff, “this was a completely preventable accident where the general contractor violated OSHA standards and their own safety policies, resulting in a devastating accident that will have a lifetime impact on a decent, hardworking man.”


Prevent Construction Falls

In a new info-graphic published by NIOSH to prevent construction falls, more than 310 construction workers are killed per year and over 10,000 are seriously injured from falls.

Prevent Construction Falls

Of those deaths, 81% from roofs are in the construction industry. Factors that contribute to falls from roofs are:

  • Worker inexperience or lack of training
  • No fall protection program or a personal fall arrest system
  • No personal fall protection used
  • Incorrect fall arrest system anchorage method
  • Lack of fall arrest system lanyard connection point
  • Incorrect working length of fall arrest system lifeline
  • Working alone when working at elevations
  • Working during inclement weather (e.g., wind, rain)

Recommendations to prevent falls from roofs include:

  • Implement a fall protection program
  • Wear fall protection, and use correctly
  • Get training on fall protection Train and assign a person to inspect fall protection equipment before each use
  • Use correct anchorage for fall arrest systems
  • Extend the side rails of the ladder 3 feet above the roof edge
  • Use a buddy system when working at heights
  • Monitor weather conditions

Download the full PDF here.


Workers Death Was Preventable

Friday during routine maintenance changing air filters on the roof of a four story building a man fell from the roof and died. The workers death was preventable. Scott David Pelnar, of Rochester, tripped near the edge of the building and fell off. A surveillance camera captured the accident.

OSHA approved fall protection is necessary for all roof maintenance work regardless of how often it is needed. Each time a worker is on the roof they are at risk for a fall. There are a wide range of fall protection products available that are affordable and easy to install.

Workers Death Was Preventable