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December 2016

Excavator cited for willful violations

Oregon OSHA has ned Estacada-based TC Excavating LLC $142,800 for ve violations, including two willful violations. The citation was based on an investigation of a trench that collapsed and killed an employee.

The accident occurred on May 5, 2016, during the installation of a sewer line for a house in southwest Portland. The investigation found two employees were working in an improperly shored trench that was about 10 feet deep. The excavation was incorrectly braced because two pieces of shoring were spaced too far apart to handle unstable soil. One of the employees was on his hands and knees working between the two pieces of shoring – spaced 15 feet apart – when the unprotected wall collapsed. The collapse buried and killed the employee.

During the investigation, the company's owner, who was on site, said he was negligent in allowing his employees to work in such a situation. He said he saw that the shoring was set up about 15 feet apart and that he knew it was not set up correctly. "I know the rules," he said, noting he has more than 16 years of excavation experience.

Oregon OSHA cited the company for two willful violations, each with the legal maximum penalty of $70,000. A willful violation occurs when an employer intentionally or knowingly allows a violation to occur.

One of the willful violations was based on the company's failure to provide employees with an adequate system to protect them from cave-ins. The other willful violation stemmed from the company's failure to provide employees with a ladder or other safe means to leave the trench.

The following serious violations, totaling $2,800 in nes, were also found during the investigation:

  • The company failed to inspect the excavation and protective system before employees went to work.
  • The company failed to keep a pile of unearthed material away from the edge of the excavation, exposing employees to possible falling debris.
  • Oregon OSHA's investigation also showed the company failed to document safety meetings.

For more information about Oregon OSHA's rules regarding excavations visit the Excavations topic page. Learn about excavations and safe practices for small business owners and contractors in this Excavations publication.

Video contest is now open for submissions

High school students across Oregon are invited to let their video skills shine in service of a good cause: increasing awareness about safety on the job for young workers.

The annual "Speak up. Work safe." video contest is now open for submissions – quirky, serious, or otherwise. The top three entries will take home cash prizes ranging from $300 to $500, and students will earn a matching amount for their school.

Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.

Starting this year, students may submit their videos online.


Contest winners will be unveiled at a screening event in spring 2017, and winning entries will be posted on YouTube.

Students must create a 90-second or less video that inspires young workers to do at least one thing di erently to stay safe on the job. The video must include the theme: "Speak up. Work safe." The video must educate young workers about the importance of speaking up in the workplace. Participants are encouraged to develop a key message or slogan, use humor, and get creative while emphasizing ways to protect themselves – and their co-workers – from getting hurt on the job.

Submissions will be judged on the following:

  • An original health and safety message that appeals to teen workers and safety educators
  • Overall production value (video/audio quality, acting, and editing)
  • "Speak up. Work safe." theme is used e ectively


For detailed contest information, including tips, rules, entry forms, workplace safety and young worker resources, and a playlist of past nalist videos, go to youngemployeesafety.org/contest/. The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]) organizes the contest. The sponsors are Oregon OSHA, SAIF Corporation, local Oregon chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, the SHARP Alliance, the Central Oregon Safety & Health Association, the SafeBuild Alliance, Ho man Construction, and Construction Safety Summit.

Oregon OSHA awards grants for safety and health training programs

Oregon OSHA has awarded three grants totaling more than $92,000 to help develop workplace safety and health education and training programs. The recipients are:

Northwest Forest Worker Center: Preventing "Struck by Object" Accidents Among Forest Workers in Southern Oregon

The nonprofit group will develop training materials to reduce the risk to forest workers in Jackson and Josephine counties of getting struck by a falling tree or branch.

The training materials will be videos – offered in Spanish and English – that engage trainees in discussions that connect to their own workplace experiences. Workers will learn best practices for preventing injuries, the legally required safety precautions, and their rights to a safe workplace.

Grant award: $40,000

City of Bend Fire Department: Injury Prevention Through Biomechanical Resilience Training

The City of Bend Fire Department will launch a training project designed to reduce injuries and claims costs among firefighters by improving the efficiency of their physical movements, and their flexibility and core strength.

Firefighters are prone to on-the-job sprains, strains, and tears, in part because the ergonomics of the basic task movements have not been addressed or corrected.

The training project will include development of therapeutic exercise prescriptions based on the results of a job-specific movement analysis.

Grant award: $30,710

SafeBuild Alliance: Identifying and Documenting Best Known Lean Safety Practices

The nonprofit group will create a training and information program that identifies and communicates the best methods of integrating lean principles – which call for eliminating waste and boosting efficiency – with safe work procedures.

The program will pinpoint the best methods of blending lean principles and workplace safety procedures, develop and deliver training based on those methods, and make the information widely available to others.

Grant award: $21,882.50

The Oregon Legislature launched the Occupational Safety and Health Education and Training Grant Program in 1990. Award recommendations are made by Oregon OSHA's Safe Employment Education and Training Advisory Committee, an advisory group with members from business, organized labor, and government.

Oregon OSHA adopts changes to 437-001-0700, Recording Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

On Nov. 10, Oregon OSHA adopted changes to its Division 1 requirements for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses to align them with the requirements in federal OSHA's unusually titled nal rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. (As part of its state plan agreement with federal OSHA, Oregon OSHA's rules must be at least as a ective as OSHA's.)

The key changes in Oregon OSHA's Division 1 rule – 437-001-0700, Recording Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – become e ective May 1, 2017, and require employers to:

  • Establish a procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately.
  • Inform employees about the procedure and tell them how they can report injuries and illnesses.
  • Inform employees that they have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.
  • Electronically submit injury and illness records to federal OSHA annually if they are in one of the following categories:
    • They had 250 or more employees at any time during the previous calendar year and are required to maintain an OSHA 300 log
    • They are in an industry listed in the rule and had 20 or more employees but fewer than 250 employees at any time during the previous calendar year.

Setting up reporting procedures

Employers can set up their own procedures for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses – the only restriction is that the procedure must not deter or discourage an employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.

The procedure must give employees a reasonable time to determine if the injury is serious enough to report. A procedure that requires immediate reporting without accounting for the nature of the injury would not be reasonable, for example.

The procedure must not make reporting so di cult or complicated that an employee would be discouraged from reporting. For example, if an employee must travel a signi cant distance to report or must report the same injury or illness multiple times to multiple levels of management, the procedure would not be reasonable.

Informing employees about their rights

Informing employees about their rights to report workplace injuries and illnesses free from retaliation is easy. Meet the requirement by posting the current version of Oregon OSHA's It's the law! poster or by telling the employees they have a right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation – a written notice to each employee or an email will do.

Are discipline, drug, and incentive programs affected by the changes?

Not specifically; discipline, drug, and incentive programs aren't mentioned in the changes. However, if you have these programs, it's a good idea to review them to ensure that they don't discourage employees from exercising their right to report workplace injuries and illnesses.

Discipline: Don't use discipline, or the threat of disciplinary action, to retaliate against an employee for reporting an injury or illness. Your safety program should treat all workers consistently if they break rules – regardless of whether they were, or were not, injured.

Incentives: Don't use incentive programs to penalize workers for reporting an injury or illness. For example, if an employee reports an injury, and is subsequently denied a benefit as part of an incentive program, this may constitute retaliation against the employee for exercising the right to report. Incentive programs should encourage safe work practices and promote worker participation in safety-related activities.

Drug testing: Don't use drug testing, or the threat of drug testing, to retaliate against an employee for reporting an injury or illness. What's important is whether you have a reasonable basis for believing that an employee's drug use could have contributed to the injury. There is no prohibition against post-incident drug testing under state or federal law, including workers' compensation law. There is also no prohibition against random drug testing and pre-employment drug testing. However, post-incident drug testing will not necessarily indicate whether drug use played a direct role in the incident.

Train-the-Trainer classes to be offered for the revised Worker Protection Standard

The newly revised Worker Protection Standard (WPS) – which goes into effect Jan. 2, 2017 – requires that qualified WPS trainers provide annual training to agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.

Completing an EPA-approved Train-the-Trainer course is one way to become qualified to provide the training. Also, it is the only way to become qualified to train pesticide handlers if you don't have a pesticide applicator license.

The eight-hour class is free and offered at the following locations:

  • Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 – Salem
  • Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 – Eugene
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 – Wilsonville
  • Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 – Hood River
  • Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 – Central Point
  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 – Klamath Falls
  • Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2017 – Ontario
  • Thursday, Mar. 9, 2017 – Pendleton

The WPS applies only to agricultural establishments that produce or maintain agricultural plants and use pesticide products that have "AGRICULTURAL USE REQUIREMENTS" printed on the label.

Learn more and register at bit.ly/TTToregonWPS.

Questions? Contact Cameron Hughes (Oregon State University) at 541-737-6123.

Duro-Last Grants Pass plant achieves Star Site status

Duro-Last Roofing is Oregon OSHA's newest Voluntary Protection Program STAR site. The company's Grants Pass manufacturing facility received Star Site status on Nov. 17. Star Site status represents the highest achievement for companies participating in the Voluntary Protection Program.

Duro-Last has a long history of working together with Oregon OSHA. The Grants Pass plant graduated from Oregon OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) in 2006.

Duro-Last, Inc., is the world's largest manufacturer of custom-fabricated, thermo-plastic single-ply roofing systems.

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