October 2, 2018

Identifying Unsafe Lifting at Your Worksite

In past issues, we’ve shared tips on safe lifting. But how can you identify which tasks are unsafe at your workplace? And are there resources that can help make your organization’s employees more mindful of these lifting hazards?

 

Identifying unsafe lifting tasks
Step one is to identify which tasks are causing injuries. Step two is to investigate why these injuries are occurring.

Review records for trends — Review your workers’ compensation claims for at least the past three years to identify injuries caused by manual material handling. Scour past near-miss worker reports or complaints, or conduct a symptoms survey so workers can identify ongoing musculoskeletal discomfort related to specific tasks. Request guidance from your Pinnacol safety consultant, too.

Observe work activities — Conduct regular walkabouts to observe employees’ behavior and use of equipment. Here are some things to watch for: lifting while bending and reaching with the arms fully extended; lifting while bending and twisting; repetitive lifting from the floor or above shoulder height; lifting large or unwieldy objects; and workers who appear fatigued, perspire heavily or rush to keep pace with lifting requirements (e.g., loading a pallet with materials from a conveyor line).

Use assessment tools — A checklist or assessment tool documents what you’re observing and helps identify the most critical risk factors for injury; therefore, it supports thorough follow-up to eliminate lifting hazards or take other corrective actions. Be aware, though, that generic checklists may not uncover all lifting hazards, and you may need to tailor a checklist to your specific workplace.

Most important, talk to your workers — Get their thoughts on safe-lifting challenges they experience. What works, in their opinion? What doesn’t? Can they suggest alternatives to manual handling (e.g., tools or equipment)?

 

Pinnacol and other resources for worker awareness
For lifting procedures and a worksite poster, visit the lifting and ergonomics webpage at Pinnacol.com. Also available from Pinnacol’s website are two simple checklists for manual material handling inspection and pushing/pulling inspection. Additionally, Pinnacol’s site posts a publication that helps raise worker awareness: “Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling.”

Other helpful resources include OSHA’s ergonomics webpage and a calculator for analyzing lifting operations from Oregon OSHA, which can be used on mobile devices. An online tool from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation enables users to evaluate specific lifting tasks. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also has a mobile app that analyzes lifting tasks to determine recommended weight limits. And the Center for Construction Research and Training offers mobile apps that can help workers identify unsafe lifting conditions.

 

We invite you to contact Pinnacol’s Safety On Call at safetyoncall@pinnacol.com or 303.361.4700 or 888.501.4752. Our Safety Services team is available to help identify unsafe lifting hazards at your organization’s workplace.

Rev Up Your Driver Safety to Reduce the Risk of Accidents

June 7, 2018

Do you follow the speed limit when you drive? You may think going a few miles over is no big deal. But speeding plays a role in nearly a third of car crash deaths. By slowing down, you could save lives.

 

That’s one of many ways to practice driver safety. Taking the proper precautions can reduce your risk of accidents, which happen all too frequently in Colorado.

 

Last year, vehicular accidents made up almost half of Pinnacol’s fatality claims. At the same time, deadly accidents in Colorado rose to the highest level in at least a decade. From 2006 to 2010, vehicles caused 39 percent of our fatal claims with injuries. The average cost of a vehicle accident claim is $23,037, or more than double our second-most-expensive claim: slips, trips and falls.

 

No industry is immune to accidents. The health care industry accounts for the highest number of vehicle claims, but trucking accounts for the highest number of fatalities.

 

Whatever your industry, embracing better driving safety protocols benefits everyone who works for you. Implement these tips to get your workers on the road to safer driving.

Conduct safety inspections on your vehicles
Use our checklist to inspect your company vehicles for safety at least once a year.

Initiate a companywide driver safety program
Follow these suggestions from NIOSH to begin. Put your policies into writing, and conduct evaluations of your current drivers.

Post on-site reminders to buckle up
In Colorado, only 81 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers wear seat belts, which is lower than the national average of 86 percent. Hang seat belt safety posters in English and/or Spanish by exits and garages reminding people to fasten their seat belts.

Encourage device-free driving
Distracted driving, from such actions as taking your eyes off the road to text, leads to an average 411,000 injuries across the country each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Urge your workers to silence their devices and cell phones or even put them in the glove compartment or trunk when they drive.

New in 2018: Sign up for StriveSafe, driver performance management technology
StriveSafe and Pinnacol have teamed up to offer Pinnacol policyholders a driver performance management solution at an exclusive, discounted price. Businesses using StriveSafe have reported up to 90 percent reduction in accidents in the first year of use, and improved operational efficiencies resulting in up to a gallon of gas savings per vehicle per day. StriveSafe helps identify and sustainably correct risky driving behaviors that pose significant risk, such as:
– Speeding.
– Hard braking.
– Rapid acceleration.
Watch a short video to see how it works.

Consult our Driver Safety Center for more ideas and resources. Questions? Contact us at safetyoncall@pinnacol.com or call us at 303.361.4700.

E-submissions of injury data to OSHA — Who needs to do it, how and by when in 2018 (Hint: Caterers do but Restaurants do not)

January 24, 2018

Many employers are required to use OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA), which debuted in August last year, to submit their annual summary injury data. New Year’s Eve marked the revised deadline to submit 2016 injury data, and we want to remind you of 2018 deadlines to submit 2017 data.

By July 1 this year, employers with at least 250 employees must submit information to the ITA website from 2017 Forms 300, 300A and 301. By July 1, establishments with 20 to 249 workers in specified industries  (including Caterers) — ones with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses — must enter data from form 300A. In 2019 and beyond, OSHA’s deadline for electronic submissions moves up to March 2.

How to submit data electronically
Electronic data submissions involve a five-step process:
1.  Launch the ITA application from the OSHA webpage.
2.  Create an establishment.
3.  Add 300A summary data.
4.  Submit data to OSHA.
5.  Review OSHA’s confirmation email.

The ITA website will offer three options for submitting data securely: enter data manually, upload a CSV file to submit single or multiple establishments at the same time or use an application programming interface to submit data from the employer’s automated recordkeeping system. The ITA website also will include reporting requirements, an FAQ section and a link for assistance.

Pinnacol resources
Pinnacol’s here to help. As a Pinnacol customer, you can use our OSHA Report Manager. This online tool helps your organization comply with OSHA’s electronic submission requirements and save time in the process. Use the OSHA Report Manager to generate your business’s OSHA 300, 300A and 301 logs. And now, to make submissions even easier, the OSHA Report Manager generates data in the OSHA-approved CSV file format. You can access this tool through Pinnacol’s policyholder portal or by visiting our OSHA recordkeeping webpage. There you’ll find a toolkit to aid compliance, OSHA 300 and 300A logs, and more. We invite you to contact your Pinnacol safety consultant or contact us on our Safety On Call line at 303.361.4700 or 888.501.4752. Pinnacol stands ready to assist your organization in meeting OSHA’s electronic submission requirements.

Here’s further information about the new federal rule from OSHA, as well as the federal register entry.

Trump administration may rescind rule
The Trump administration has taken steps to amend or even rescind OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule. And on Oct. 10, 2017, OSHA filed an update that it “continues to develop a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to ‘reconsider, revise or remove provisions of the [rule],’” as announced in Pres. Trump’s First Regulatory (and Deregulatory) Agenda issued last July. Pinnacol will monitor these developments and apprise you of any changes. Currently, though, all elements of OSHA’s recordkeeping rule remain in effect, and employers should submit injury and illness recordkeeping data to OSHA as required.