As we move forward from year to year, we continually see changes develop in the world around us. New people come into our lives, we face new challenges, and new opportunities continue to present themselves. As interesting as it can be to watch the world transform in front of our very eyes, it's also somewhat time consuming to keep up with everything. Busy schedules and seemingly ever-increasing obligations often hamper our ability to stay on the leading edge of developments around us, leaving us wondering where the time went or how certain occurrences slipped right under our radar.
Although much of our time is spent at work, the main focus of that time is usually production and completion of tasks, causing us to miss out on certain things like safety regulations, industry advancements, new technology and the like. In order to provide you with a heads-up for workplace safety in 2015, we've decided to write a little bit about what you can expect from OSHA in the next 365 days, just in case you haven't had the time to look into it yourself.
OSHA is Introducing New Regulations
For many people, news about new OSHA regulations is never good news. It usually means increased training, additional expense, and an increased risk for citation. But overall, these standards are put into place to coincide with the changes occurring in the workplace and the world around us. For the most part, these new and additional regulations only come into play for one reason only - to improve safety.
In 2015, OSHA has prepared 3 final rulings that will be issued. The first is Confined Spaces for Construction, which unlike other industries doesn't have its own rules. It will lend additional protections specifically to workers in construction. The second is Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems. This standard has been stuck in limbo since 1990 and will ensure better protections against slips, trips and falls. The third ruling will be to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, which is more geared towards employers but in an effort to promote safety through increased availability of companies safety records to the public.
There are also some new proposals out there, but nothing is set in stone as of yet. These ideas include: 1.) Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits 2.) Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents 3.) Communication Tower Safety 4.) Exposure to Crystalline Silica, and 5.) Exposure to Beryllium
New Standards for Injury Reporting
This one has already begun, and it's in an effort to provide better transparency and accuracy for companies safety records - both officially and for the public.
As of January 1st, 2015 employers must report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours and all work-related hospitalizations, amputations and eye loss within 24 hours. Reporting can be done by calling OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or by filling out the new online reporting form available on OSHA's website.
Now Exempt from OSHA?
There has also been a dramatic change in certain industries in regards to their requirement to keep OSHA records in any form. Previously, the standards were based on data from 1996 through 1998. But with the influx of new data (from 2007-2009) they have determined that there are 82 industries that are now exempt. On the other side of things, there are now 25 more industries that are now required to begin keeping records.
As a note, we'd like to mention that the new rulings on record keeping still allow the exemption for any business or employer who has 10 employees or less, regardless of the industry.
In a Nutshell
There are many other aspects that will be changing in the workplace due to new and ongoing regulation. While it's not always possible to stay informed on a daily basis, know that the information IS out there. For up-to-date information, visit and bookmark the OSHA website where all industry information and new regulatory standards are available.
Remember, you spend a lot of time at work, therefor, you might as well be safe out there! Here's to a year of improved safety and working conditions for the employees of all industries.