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Risk Control Issues NewsBrief - February 2016

U.S. DOT announces increase in roadway deaths

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its latest estimate of traffic deaths, which shows a steep 9.3 percent increase for the first nine months of 2015.

NHTSA estimates that more than 26,000 people died in traffic crashes in the first nine months of 2015, compared to the 23,796 fatalities in the first nine months of 2014. U.S. regions nationwide showed increases ranging from 2 to 20 percent. View the report.

The estimated increase in highway deaths follows years of steady, gradual declines. Traffic deaths declined 1.2 percent in 2014 and more than 22 percent from 2000 to 2014.

Helping to prevent work-related vehicle crashes

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. Millions of workers, such as long-haul truck drivers, sales representatives, and home health care staff, drive or ride in a motor vehicle as part of their jobs. To help prevent motor vehicle crashes at work, the CDC and NOISH have created a Guide to Preventing Work-Related Vehicle Crashes, as part of its focus on vehicle safety. The guide highlights statistics and four components of a motor vehicle safety program. View the guide.

For more information, view the CDC/NIOSH vehicle safety website at:

Join us for our next Driver Quick Tips webinar on Feb. 23: Leading the way to safety. To register, log in to the Customer Portal at the top of the page and click on the Webinar Schedule under Education Center. Also, be sure to check out the Driver and Fleet Safety web page on the Travelers Prepare and Prevent website.

Employers must post injury and illness summaries now through April

OSHA reminds employers of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2015.  The OSHA 300 log must be reviewed to ensure that the entries are complete and accurate. Once any identified deficiencies have been corrected, the summary must be certified before posting. The summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted each year between Feb. 1 and April 30. 
Unless notified in writing by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that they must keep records, businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements. As of Jan. 1, 2015, certain previously exempt industries are now covered. Lists of both exempt and newly covered industries are available on OSHA's website. Visit OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule webpage for more information on recordkeeping requirements.

OSHA issues alert on hazards of working with scissor lifts

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has posted a new Hazard Alert on Working Safely with Scissor Lifts, which was developed after a student was killed while filming from a scissor lift in 2010.

Scissor lifts are work platforms used to move workers vertically and to different locations in a variety of industries, including construction, retail, entertainment and manufacturing. Scissor lifts are different from aerial lifts because the lifting mechanism moves the work platform straight up and down using crossed beams functioning in a scissor-like fashion. Although scissor lifts present hazards similar to scaffolding when extended and stationary, using scissor lifts safely depends on considering equipment capabilities, limitations and safe practices.

Over a one-year period, OSHA investigated 10 preventable fatalities and more than 20 preventable injuries resulting from a variety of incidents involving scissor lifts. OSHA’s investigations found that most injuries and fatalities involving scissor lifts were the result of employers not addressing fall protection, stabilization and positioning.

Read more. To view more Risk Control information about lifts, log in to the Customer Portal at the top of the page and search “aerial lifts” in the Keyword Search.

NFIRS report: loss measures for restaurants

For each year from 2011 to 2013, an estimated 5,600 restaurant fires were reported to fire departments in the United States, resulting in fewer than five deaths, 100 injuries, and $116 million in property damage.

There are many different types of restaurants, from chain restaurants that are found at many locations — including fast-food restaurants — to small, family-owned restaurants that limit business to a single location. Restaurants also vary by the different types of food that they prepare and serve to their customers. No matter the type, however, each restaurant poses unique fire risks as it engages in cooking activities and large numbers of customers potentially gather at one time.

Fires originating in restaurants accounted for the most reported incidents in the category of assembly areas, under the broader descriptor of property use in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) 5.0.

Read more:

To view more Risk Control information about restaurant safety, log in to the Customer Portal at the top of the page and search “restaurant” in the Keyword Search.

Health and safety risks for workers involved in manual tank gauging and sampling at oil and gas extraction sites

Recent NIOSH and OSHA research shows that workers at oil and gas extraction sites could be exposed to hydrocarbon gases and vapors, oxygen-deficient atmospheres, and fires and explosions when they open tank hatches to manually gauge or collect fluid samples on production, flowback, or other tanks that contain process fluids. NIOSH and OSHA identified nine worker fatalities that occurred while workers manually gauged or sampled production tanks from 2010-2014 (NIOSH 2015).

A Hazard Alert has been developed that describes the safety and health hazards when workers manually gauge or sample fluids; recommends ways to protect workers by eliminating or reducing exposures to hazardous atmospheres; and actions employers should take to ensure that workers are properly aware of the hazards and protected from exposure to hydrocarbon gases and vapors.

For more information about Risk Control Oil and Gas safety resources, log in to the Risk Control Customer Portal at the top of the page and search “oil and gas” in the Keyword Search.

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