Pinnacol Pointers: Improve Ergonomics to Reduce Worker Strain Injuries

August 1, 2017

Did you realize that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSD cases accounted for 31 percent of all worker injury and illness cases in 2015.

MSDs comes into play whenever soft-tissue strain results from improper or repetitive body movements, as well as lack of motion.

 

What to Do

Working over long periods of time in awkward postures without taking breaks can greatly increase your employees’ risk for musculoskeletal injuries. Proper workstation setup and layout, good fit with a quality task chair and posture changes throughout the day are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. Reorganizing work so employees can stand and walk every 30 to 45 minutes, for example, is a no-cost approach to reduce the effects of sitting in a static posture.

 

What Not to Do

Look for these common awkward postures at your employees’ workstations and inform workers of these risk factors for injury:

  • Working in a seated, static position for more than 30 minutes without standing or walking.
  • Sitting so far forward in a chair that the back is unsupported or, worse, slouching forward over the keyboard.
  • Working with elbows extended in front of the body, which creates muscle tension in the upper back.
  • Cradling the phone for long periods while performing keyboard/mouse work.
  • Entering data from a document that is face down on the desk, requiring awkward neck flexion or twisting.
  • Placing contact stress on soft tissues, such as resting wrists on a hard, sharp desktop edge while using a computer mouse.

 

Pinnacol Resources

Pinnacol is here to educate policyholders and improve the ergonomic setup and layout of your computer workstations. Visit the Knowledge Center on Pinnacol’s website to view our interactive office ergonomics video. A host of additional downloads – FAQs; guidelines for choosing an ergonomic chair and workstation setup, a stretching and warm-up exercise handout, and equipment procurement and use checklists – can help prevent musculoskeletal strains and injuries to your workers. You can order a computer DVD copy of the interactive video program from Pinnacol’s Order Materials webpage under the DVD Training & Resources section. Your organization can make copies of the DVD and distribute them to employees or even copy the files to your organization’s intranet.

Pinnacol partners with Office Relief, an ergonomic chairs and accessories supplier with discounted prices for Pinnacol customers. Office Relief offers one-stop shopping for purchasing high-quality task chairs, sit/stand workstations, keyboards, mice and various other desk accessories to improve the ergonomic setup of the workstation. Contact Office Relief’s Jeff Bellamy at (720) 232.5637 or jbellamy@officerelief.com. Identify yourself as a Pinnacol customer to receive a product catalog with Pinnacol’s preferred pricing. Bellamy provides onsite services, as well, such as free chair demos.

You can also contact Pinnacol’s Safety On Call online or at 303.361.4700 or 888.501.4752. Our Safety Services team is committed to helping you keep your organization’s employees healthy, productive and injury-free.

OSHA’s Electronic Submissions & Anti-Retaliation Rule

February 1, 2017

By Mindy Carrothers, Pinnacol Safety Group

With the new year underway, we remind you about amendments to OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations that became effective Jan. 1, 2017. The revised regulations require many employers to annually submit to OSHA certain electronic injury and illness data, which will then become publicly available. The new rule also includes anti-retaliation language that covers the entire scope of employer policies on the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses.

The annual electronic reporting requirements became effective on New Year’s Day, 2017, while the anti-retaliation provisions were effective much earlier, on Aug. 10, 2016.

Annual Electronic Reporting

Previously, employers covered by OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations collected and maintained injury and illness data internally. Under the new rule, covered employers must now provide injury and illness data to OSHA annually, and the agency intends to make the data publicly available.

The annual electronic reporting requirements apply to three categories of employers:

  1. Large employers (i.e., establishments with 250 or more employees that are not exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping rules)
  2. “High-risk” employers (i.e., establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries)
  3. Any other employers from which OSHA makes a written request for data

OSHA decreased the reporting requirement for large employers (250+) from quarterly submissions to an annual submission. All employees working at an establishment during the previous calendar year (including full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary workers) are counted.

The new reporting requirements will phase in over the next two years as follows:

   

July 1, 2017

 

July 1, 2018

 

March 2, 2019

(and every March 2

thereafter)

Non-Exempt Employers

with 250+ Employees

2016 OSHA Form 300A

Logs due

 

2017 OSHA Forms

300, 300A and

301 due

Prior year’s OSHA Forms

300, 300A and 301 due

Employers in “High

Risk” Industries with 20-249 Employees

2016 OSHA Form 300A

Logs due

2017 OSHA Form 300A

Logs due

Prior year’s OSHA Form

300A Logs due

 

 

Recommendations

  • Employers subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations can take certain steps now to comply with the new rules and limit citation liability:
  • Collect OSHA 300A forms (and 300 and 301 forms for large employers) electronically.
  • Post the newly revised OSHA poster to ensure compliance with the rule’s revised informational requirements.
  • Ensure reporting procedures (and, if applicable, any safety incentive programs) to ensure that such programs are reasonable and do not discourage injury and illness reporting.
  • Remind managers of anti-retaliation practices in light of the increased scrutiny employers will face under the revised rule. Per OSHA’s guidance, review disciplinary, incentive and drug-testing programs for elements that could result in retaliatory actions against employees.

Pinnacol Resources

For more information on OSHA’s electronic submissions and anti-retaliation rule and the requirements for your organization, visit OSHA’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements webpages. Review the helpful resources, including the OSHA Report Manager and many downloads, available on Pinnacol’s OSHA recordkeeping webpages. Consider registering for one of Pinnacol’s OSHA recordkeeping training sessions. Check out the online interactive OSHA compliance training available to Pinnacol customers through J.J. Keller. Or call Pinnacol’s Safety On Call hotline at 303-361-4700 or 888-501-4752. Our

Safety Services Team stands ready to answer questions and help your organization remain current and compliant with OSHA requirements.