Oregon OSHA Health and Safety


February 2015

News Briefs

Safety committees top violation in Oregon

Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution rule proposal on hold; new proposal under consideration

Public hearings on recordkeeping rule announced

Oregon Supreme Court rejects burden imposed on Oregon OSHA by Court of Appeals

GOSH 2015 coming to Portland in March

Oregon OSHA awards three training grants

Oregon businesses encouraged to take a 'Safety Break' May 13

Congratulations to the new SHARP companies:

Swanson Group Manufacturing, Glendale

VR Analytical, Bend

Woodfold Manufacturing, Inc., Forest Grove

Safety committees top violation in Oregon

Safety committee violations were No. 1 on the most cited Oregon OSHA standards in 2014, with hazard communication and fall protection ranking second and third, respectively.

"What's striking is that the list changes very little," said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood of the top three violations that remain unchanged from 2013. "The areas we focus on, the problems we find, and injuries they cause tend to be very similar year after year."

With close to 400 violations cited, fall protection continues to be the top citation for the construction industry. The first-time penalty for a single fall violation averaged more than $1,000 (even with a majority of small employers) because of the potential for serious injury or death. Fall violations also account for the most frequent source of repeat violations on the list.

Oregon OSHA's top violations of 2014

  • Safety committees and safety meetings
  • Hazard communication
  • Fall protection (including ladder violations) (C)
  • Electrical: wiring
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Powered industrial trucks
  • Lockout/tagout
  • Machine guarding
  • Eyewash station
  • Hazard assessment (PPE)

*(C) = Construction standard

Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution rule proposal on hold; new proposal under consideration

In November 2014, Oregon OSHA proposed to adopt federal OSHA final rules in 29 CFR 1910 general industry, and 1926 construction that cover electric power generation, transmission, and distribution (federal OSHA published the rules in April 2014). The proposal included Oregon-initiated changes to the federal rule. After receiving many written comments and testimony at three public hearings in November and December 2014, Oregon OSHA will not adopt the rule as proposed. Instead, the division is interested in developing a new proposal to replace the federal general industry and construction rules with Oregon-initiated rules that covers both industries.

Oregon OSHA will reconvene an advisory group to present a draft of the consolidated rule and provide insight to proposed rule revisions based on the comments and testimony received. Oregon OSHA expects new rulemaking to be proposed mid-2015.

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Public hearings on recordkeeping rule announced

Oregon OSHA will address changes to the federal recordkeeping requirements through its own rulemaking. As a result, the division is planning a series of public hearings on proposed changes to Oregon's Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements in Division 1. The hearings will be held in Portland on Thursday, Feb. 26, in Bend on Tuesday, March 3, and in Eugene on Thursday, March 5.

This rulemaking incorporates federal OSHA's changes, but makes additional changes to report workplace amputations to include any amputation or avulsion that includes bone and/or cartilage loss and clarifies inpatient hospitalization related to workplace illnesses and injuries. A note was also added reminding employers that, in addition to these reporting requirements, an injury involving a mechanical power press must also be reported to Oregon OSHA.

For details about the proposed rule and locations of the public hearings, go to ltr-div1-recordkeeping.pdf

The rule adoption tentatively will be March 2015 (effective January 2016). The comment period ends March 11, 2015.

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Oregon Supreme Court rejects burden imposed on Oregon OSHA by Court of Appeals

The Oregon Supreme Court rejected an Oregon Court of Appeals decision in Oregon OSHA v. CBI Services that focused on employer knowledge in citing a violation.

The high court rejected the appeals court's construction of the statute, but it affirmed the outcome in this case "on other grounds," meaning that the case will be returned to the Workers' Compensation Board to make a decision in light of the court's ruling.

At issue in this case is what the statute means when it says that an employer "could not with the exercise of reasonable diligence now" of a violation. The Court of Appeals held that the statutory phrase refers not to whether an employer "could" know – in the sense of being capable of knowing – of the violation; rather the phrase refers to whether, taking into account a number of specified factors, an employer "should" know of the violation. . . . [W]e conclude that the Court of Appeals erred in its construction of ORS 654.086(2), but we affirm on other grounds.

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GOSH 2015 coming to Portland in March

Registration is open for the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) Conference, to be held March 9-12, 2015, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. With more than 160 workshops and sessions, it is the largest event of its kind in the Northwest.

"An event such as GOSH provides the opportunity for organizations to become re-energized," said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. "Whether we are professionals in the field, or simply committed employers and workers, GOSH can help remind us why health and safety matter. Ultimately, it's about people – about people going home safe and whole. About people spending time with their friends and families, rather than having that time cut short by a workplace injury, illness, or even death."

Keynote speaker Jim Wiethorn, a forensic engineer at Haag Engineering, will present "Forensics: It's Elementary My Dear Watson" on Tuesday, March 10. Wiethorn, who has examined more than 800 crane accidents during his career, will talk about how to effectively conduct an accident investigation.

"The key to forensic investigations is focusing on evidence," said Wiethorn. "Evidence tells a story. Examine the details, follow the falling dominoes, and you will have the answer."

Other general topics covered at conference include:

  • Safety committee training
  • Safety leadership and workplace culture
  • Ergonomics
  • Regulatory updates

The conference will also feature session tracks on specialties such as utility work, construction, emergency preparedness and response, agriculture, and health care.

Back by popular demand is the Columbia Forklift Challenge and registration is open to participants. Trained forklift drivers will compete for cash in an obstacle course designed to test their skills and safe operation on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA), a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, is partnering with the Columbia-Willamette Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers to sponsor the conference.

For more information on the conference schedule, events or to register, go to www.oregongosh.com.

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Oregon OSHA awards three training grants

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) is awarding three grants totaling more than $115,000 to help develop workplace safety and health education programs.

The recipients include:

NECA/IBEW - NFPA 70E: The "How To" Comply with OSHA Electrical Standards NECA/IBEW will develop an online training to provide easily accessible information regarding electrical hazards, regulations, and protective equipment. The online training will help participants develop procedures that clearly identify their roles and responsibilities for safety in the workplace.
Grant award: $35,239.25

Oregon State University, College of Forestry - Association of Oregon Loggers: Safe Design of Mobile Anchors
OSU will develop a fact sheet on how to properly use mobile equipment anchors in logging operations. OSU will also create and record a two-hour webinar outlining safe equipment anchor design, along with the development of a mobile app for smartphones. The materials will be available on Oregon OSHA's website.
Grant award: $39,979

Northwest Forest Worker Center (NWFC): Safety and Health in Forestry Workers
NWFC will target low-literacy Latino workers in southern Oregon. Training will be developed to address preventing traumatic injuries by avoiding slips, trips, and falls. NWFC will use Promotoras (bilingual community health workers) to help with outreach and present the trainings to the workers.
Grant award: $40,000

The Occupational Safety and Health Education and Training Grant Program was established by the Oregon Legislature 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.

Materials produced by grant recipients become the property of Oregon OSHA. The final projects are to be completed by the end of November 2015. The materials will be housed in the Oregon OSHA Resource Center and will be available online for use by the public.

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Oregon businesses encouraged to take a 'Safety Break' May 13

Employers across Oregon are invited to promote workplace safety and health with training, award recognition events, or other creative activities during the annual Safety Break for Oregon on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

Oregon OSHA coordinates the one-day event, designed to raise awareness and promote the value of safety and health in preventing on-the-job injuries and illnesses. The event is voluntary for employers and businesses can determine what activities are beneficial to their workforce.

"Like any safety stand down, Safety Break by itself cannot promise to magically make an employer's health and safety program real or more effective," said Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA administrator. "But as part of a genuine effort to address workplace hazards, this event provides an opportunity to sharpen the focus, and to remind both workers and their employers that it requires continued focus and diligence to create a workplace free from the hazards that can cause serious injury, illness, or even death."

Companies planning to participate will be entered to win one of three $100 pizza luncheons when they sign up online by Friday, May 8. The prizes will be given to participating companies as part of a random drawing. The Oregon SHARP Alliance is sponsoring the contest.

For more information, ideas on how to host an event, or to download graphics, go the Safety Break for Oregon website.

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