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Putting safety measures in place within your manufacturing facility may have associated costs, but the payback in increased productivity, fewer work comp claims, less absenteeism, and improved morale are significant and proven.

In short, safety is good for business.

Creating a culture of safety and protecting workers isn’t just a moral obligation, but a legal one as well. As such, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues requirements and guidelines for employers. Here’s what’s new for 2019 and beyond.

Tracking of Forms & Electronic Submission

One of OSHA’s new rulings will somewhat lessen the burden of compliance for some mid-sized manufacturers. As of January 2019, the requirement to electronically submit OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) has been removed for organizations that employ 250 or more people.

However, the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Form 300A will still require electronic submission, and organizations must still keep and maintain all three noted OSHA forms for five years.

Knowing whether your company needs to submit an OSHA 300A injury and illness summary report can be confusing. For example, there are many industries with 20 to 249 employees that must do so, while others are exempt or partially exempt. It’s best to consult with OSHA or an experienced risk advisor to make sure you remain in compliance.

In addition, the Standards Improvement Project IV that went into effect in 2018 identified revisions to OSHA’s recordkeeping for general industry, maritime and construction standards. As part of these changes, employees’ social security numbers no longer need to be included on records in an effort to protect employee privacy and prevent identity fraud.

Silica Rule

Crystalline silica dust consists of extremely small particles that result from cutting, crushing or grinding products such as concrete, brick, stone countertops, ceramic products, glass and other similar items containing the mineral. About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable silica, many through industrial sand used in foundries, hydraulic fracturing and construction.

Without proper protections, workers can inhale these tiny particles and increase the risk of serious health conditions including silicosis lung disease, lung cancer, chronic pulmonary disease and more. Employers need to limit exposure, develop an exposure control plan (ECP), keep air monitoring records and take other measures. General industries such as manufacturing as well as maritime needed to be in compliance with the new regulations in June 2018, with construction being required to comply a year earlier.

Revised Beryllium Exposure Rule

Another material that can cause lung cancer and chronic lung disease is beryllium. This element is often used in aerospace, telecommunications, IT, the medical field, defense, nuclear industries and other manufacturing settings. Beryllium is most commonly used as an alloy with copper, aluminum, magnesium or nickel to make bushings, bearings, and springs, but it can also be used as a pure metal or as beryllium oxide.

Machine operators, machinists, metal fabricators, welders and other production line workers are at greatest risk of exposure, and OSHA estimates that approximately 7,300 establishments in the United States have environments where exposure is possible. As of December 12, 2018, OSHA replaced its 40-year-old exposure limits and began enforcing their final ruling with tightened restrictions and guidelines which go beyond merely providing personal protective equipment (PPE), clothing and respirators.

Potential Increase in OSHA Inspections

As part of its 2019 fiscal year budget, OSHA expects to add 71 full-time equivalent enforcement agents and employees to assist with compliance, outreach and Voluntary Protection Programs. This will likely result in more unplanned OSHA inspections in 2020. The agency projects more than 33,000 inspections — a 3.5% increase.

Increased Fines

Noncompliance with OSHA standards is a serious matter. The maximum penalties for putting employees at risk have risen, with new penalties having gone into effect in January 2019. The maximum penalty for a serious violation rose from $12,934 in 2018 to $13,260. Willful or repeated violations carry a substantially more significant maximum penalty, having risen from $129,336 to $132,598.

To help you improve safety in your workplace and avoid potential fines, be sure to check out our Workplace Safety Checklist below. Many more OSHA rules may apply, and remaining in compliance is an ongoing challenge for most manufacturers, in addition to keeping up with regulations that can change each year. Reach out to one of McClone’s strategic risk advisors to help you determine your compliance status.
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A collection of articles from the McClone team with the helpful knowledge and insights to ensure your organization is well protected.