OSHA currently controls over 20 laws that protect workers who file safety complaints against their employer or other employees. In general, whistleblowers are protected against retaliation from their employer. In order to file a whistleblower complaint, 4 key elements must be alleged (from OSHA's website):
- The employee engaged in activity protected by the whistleblower protection law(s) (such as reporting a violation of law);
- The employer knew about, or suspected, that the employee engaged in the protected activity;
- The employer took an adverse action against the employee;
- The employee's protected activity motivated or contributed to the adverse action.
On Friday, OSHA announced that it is revising its online whistleblower complaint form in order to make sure that users are filing complaints with the correct agency. The new complaint form, which is available in English and Spanish will help direct users to the correct agency, if the specific complain is not handled through OSHA, with a series of pop-up windows.
Just as before, whistleblower complaints can also be sent by fax, mail, hand delivery, or by telephone (800-321-6742).
Almost 18 months ago, an under construction pedestrian bridge on Florida International University’s (FIU) campus collapsed, killing 6 people and injuring another 8. While many investigations have closed, including OSHA’s scathing report, families of victims and survivors have been awaiting the results of civil lawsuits filed against the companies in charge of the projects.
The spring of 2019 saw 3 trench collapse deaths in a span of 10 days. One at a home construction site in Colorado, another during a culvert install in Marysville, Ohio, and a third at a residential site in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio. The latter has recently received a hefty fine and penalty from OSHA.
Personal fall protection devices are extremely important to saving lives and preventing injuries due to falls on a jobsite. Half the battle is getting your team to wear harnesses, but when they do, you need to trust that the devices will work when they’re needed. 3M has recently issued an immediate stop use and product recall on two of their fall protection products.
While placing concrete on the 7th floor of a new hotel in Houston, TX, 16 construction workers were suddenly sent falling to the 6th floor below, sending 9 of them to the hospital, according to local news reports.
A recent crane collapse in Dallas, TX, that left a woman, who was in her apartment, dead, several others injured, and hundreds displaced, has triggered a local news station to dig further into what the city and state are doing to protect from these accidents in the future.
Last year, over 130 organizations petitioned OSHA to issue a heat protection standard, citing needs for mandatory rest breaks, PPE, hydration, and monitoring. On July 10, 2019, Representative Judy Chu of California introduced H.R. 3668 to meet the organizations’ request.
Many areas throughout the country saw their hottest temperatures of the year over the weekend. In response to the forecasts, OSHA issued a reminder to employers about the dangers of heat illness.
Falls are, by far, the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 40% each year. That fact is the main reason why personal fall protection devices are so heavily stressed in the industry. But, even if your fall is arrested by a harness, you’re not out of the woods yet, as serious complications can happen while you’re being suspended in the air.
We all know – or, at least, should know – about construction’s Fatal Four Hazards: Falls, Struck-by, Caught-in or Between, and Electrical. Those hazards get most of the attention in most safety training courses in construction and rightfully so, they contribute to a large majority of all deaths on the jobsite. A recent study, however, highlights the need to take certain health hazards more seriously, due to their long term effects.
Summer is officially upon us and beating the heat will keep you healthy and productive. There are many summer dangers on construction sites, but OSHA maintains that water, rest, and shade are the most important factors to avoiding heat illness. Here are a few products to help keep you and hydrated on your jobsites this summer.