OSHA: What manufacturers need to know for 2018

safety first card in gloved hand

 (Courtesy of Guest Bloggers Joseph N. Gross, partner, and Cheryl Donahue, associate, with Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP)

Joseph Gross partner at BeneschCheryl Donahue associate with Benesch

Although many manufacturers are upbeat about the changes in leadership that will be coming at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and having a full complement of commissioners at the OSHA Review Commission, new OSHA standards could mean a few non-compliance surprises.

Recordkeeping: Who, what, and when

OSHA revised its recordkeeping requirements for tracking work-based injuries and illnesses, now requiring many employers to submit their records electronically. This new electronic recordkeeping rule affects all employers with 250 or more employees that were previously required to keep OSHA injury and illness records and employers with 20-249 employees that are classified in any of 67 specific industries, including manufacturing, which, according to OSHA, historically have had high injury and illness rates. To be compliant, affected employers must submit their 300A Forms by December 1, 2017, per OSHA’s latest notice of proposed rulemaking. Forms are to be submitted to OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application. After the forms are collected, OSHA will post each employers’ specific illness and injury data on its website, to, as one of OSHA’s announcements explains, nudge employers to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

Recordkeeping in 2018

In 2018, the electronic recordkeeping requirements change again. Employers with 250 or more employees are required to electronically submit all of their required 2017 forms (Forms 300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Employers in the specified high-risk industries, including manufacturing, with 20-249 employees are required to submit their 2017 Forms 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019, the submission deadlines change from July 1 to March 2 each year.

Anti-retaliation protections

In addition to the electronic submission requirements, the new recordkeeping rule prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report their work-related injuries and illnesses. The rule also requires employers to inform employees of their right to report their injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. Employers’ reporting procedures must be reasonable and cannot discourage or deter employees from reporting. Although OSHA did not go so far as making safety incentive programs unlawful, OSHA made clear that rewarding employees for having a good safety record is not permissible.

The dead Volks Rule

In April 2017, President Trump signed a resolution that killed the Volks rule. The Volks rule permitted OSHA to issue citations for certain recordkeeping up to five years after the noncompliant conduct. OSHA’s authority is back to six months. Changes to other rules and policies, including the electronic recordkeeping rule, are probably one to two years away, so stay tuned.

New compliance standards: beryllium & silica

On May 20, 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium standard became effective. Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, defense, and nuclear energy. The new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit for beryllium to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day. The new standard also requires employers to use practices such as ventilation or enclosure to limit employee exposure to beryllium and to provide respirators when exposure cannot be limited.

On October 23, 2017, OSHA’s silica standard began limiting employee exposure of silica dust to 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day. Silica exposure occurs when employees cut, grind, or drill silica-containing materials such as concrete, rock, tile, or masonry. The standard now requires employers to limit employees’ access to high exposure areas, to provide medical care to employees who have been exposed, and to train employees about silica-related hazards.

Walking and working surfaces and ladders

OSHA’s new fall-protection standards became effective earlier this year, but manufacturers will not get the full impact until they have to buy new ladders. They are changing. In 20 years, employers will have to replace all cages and wells used as fall protection on ladders of more than 24 feet with more effective systems. But, starting November 2018, employers purchasing new fixed ladders over 24 feet will not be able to use cages and wells for fall protection.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Expediting Department

Expediting Department

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Herm Bailey, HGR’s expediting supervisor)

What does your department do?

As expeditors, we assist all departments. For the Showroom, we will do outs that customers are picking up, pull truck orders and help where needed. For Incoming/Receiving, we clear walls to make room for new items, help offload incoming trucks, set up walls and help run any scrap. For Scrap, we pull, re-itemize and scrap. We also do miscellaneous project work and storage.

How many people work in your department?

There currently are two people in our department, including myself.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

A willingness to adapt as our daily jobs may change quickly, a strong work ethic and a positive attitude

What do you like most about your department?

It’s not boring because it can change as the day goes on.

What challenges has your department faced, and how have you overcome them?

While being a small crew, we are always giving input to one another. Communication is key.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

The only changes have been in the way that we transport larger items.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

More suggestions and advice to be even safer in our operations

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

Fast-paced

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

Lower-value items need to be moved quickly since they take up valuable floor space. Sold items need to be picked up as soon as is possible by the customer to keep the items from being damaged by moving surrounding items. The longer something sits, the less value that we can get for it.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Receiving Department

HGR's Receiving Department
L to R: Dwayne Maggard, Chuck Leonard and Eric Sims

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Chuck Leonard, HGR’s receiving supervisor and an original HGR employee)

What does your department do?

Our department is basically where the ball starts rolling for each item we purchase. Our job is to unload everything in a safe manner when it comes in on a van trailer or a flatbed trailer. Once unloaded, we set each item along on a wall to be photographed and given an inventory number so that the item can be advertised on our website and displayed for customers out on our showroom floor.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

I have two employees that work in my department and, at times, a third when required, depending on the trucking schedule. Their job consists of unloading items in a safe manner. Once unloaded, they have to prep each item to be set up along the wall to be inventoried. This task can be involved depending on the item. Once pictured and priced the item is moved by forklift to our designated “new arrivals” area. This process repeats itself throughout the day. We try to inventory 400 items each day between two shifts.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

The job requires you to be fairly skilled on a forklift, since you’re not just moving pallets around all day. Machinery can be very unbalanced, which makes it dangerous, especially when you’re dealing with machines that can weigh up to 40,000 pounds. You have to be able to work at a fairly quick, but safe, pace. There are a lot of smaller items that come in that require sorting through. I’m here to tell you, it’s not as easy as we make it look — just ask some of the salespeople and management who’ve gotten on a forklift.

What do you like most about your department?

I like the fact that my department works well together as a team; everyone knows his role. I like that we are dealing with different items, and we are not just moving pallets all day long. I also like the challenge of lifting bigger, heavier pieces that require rigging/chaining. I’ve been here for 19 years; so, there’s not much that I haven’t seen, but I like the occasional surprises.

What challenges has your department faced and how have you overcome them?

I guess our challenge in our department is space — having enough wall space to set up as many items as possible. The more space, the more items, and the more we sell, the more money we bring in. We have gotten more creative with using curtains as a wall, and recently the new office space in the back has freed more space. We can never have too much space though.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

The biggest change in our department, and for all of the company for that matter, has been safety. We can never be too safe.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

This is just probably wishful thinking on my part but if there was a way to know and control on a daily basis what’s coming in. There are days when we are overwhelmed with what’s coming. Another continuous improvement would to be make sure every piece moved is done so without damaging it.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR’s environment is very customer and employee friendly. There’s a reason I’ve been here for 19 years. I think everyone just wants to be treated fairly, and I truly have been during my time here.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

When I interviewed for the job at McKean about 20 years ago, I was totally clueless about everything. I remember walking through an unorganized warehouse of machinery thinking, “Is there really a market for this kind of stuff? Will I still have a job in a couple of years?” Fast forward 20 years, and the answer is a resounding YES! We seem to be economy foolproof. No matter how good or bad the economy is doing there has always been a market for HGR. I see a lot of items come in through Receiving and say to myself, “No chance in hell that’s going to sell.” Lo and behold, I’m walking through the showroom and see a sold tag on it to my astonishment. So the old saying truly is: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”