Deadline Approaching for Respirable Crystalline Silica Compliance

July 27, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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Employers in general, construction, and maritime industries should be preparing for an upcoming compliance deadline issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding respirable crystalline silica.

What is respirable crystalline silica?

Silica, a mineral found in sand, concrete, stone, and other materials, is hazardous when reduced to a dust and has the potential to be inhaled. Any job functions that involve cutting, sawing, drilling, or crushing materials that contain silica is dangerous.

When silica dust particles are inhaled, they can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause di sabling and sometimes fatal diseases, including silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and kidney disease.

What are OSHA’s new regulations?

The rule includes two sets of standards—one for the construction industry and another for general and maritime industries.

Both dramatically reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 µg/m3) as an eight-hour time-weighted average and require employers to implement specific measures to protect workers.

The required measures include engineering controls, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication and recordkeeping. Compliance with these rules will not be an easy process for employers. In some cases, air sampling will need to be conducted.

When is the deadline?

When the rule was enacted in June 2016, employers in the construction industry were given a compliance deadline of Sept. 23, 2017. Employers in the general and maritime industries have until June 23, 2018, to meet the new standards.

Employers should be acting now to determine if they are subject to the rule. If so, organizations should become familiar with OSHA’s new requirements and begin drafting and take steps to implement a written exposure control plan.

For more information on compliance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime, click here.

For more information on compliance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard Construction, click here.

Posted in Blog, Commercial, OSHA, Risk management, Safety | Tagged  , , , , ,

OSHA Electronic Reporting Updates

July 27, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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OSHA announced the launch date for its secure website, which will allow certain employers to electronically submit Injury and Illness records, is next Tuesday, Aug. 1. Once the website is live, employers can begin submitting their 2016 OSHA Injury and Illness data to meet the reporting deadline of Dec. 1, 2017.

Who is required to comply with electronic reporting?  

All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301.

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain higher hazard industries must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.

A full list of those industries can be found on the OSHA website.

OSHA defines an “establishment” as a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed.  A firm may be comprised of one or more establishments.

If you have further questions, please contact Tom Scherrer, Cornerstone’s Loss Control Consultant, or reference the OSHA website.

Posted in Blog, Commercial, OSHA, Risk management | Tagged  ,

OSHA’s Electronic Reporting Rule Postponed

July 10, 2017 | Leave a Comment

OSHA Postpone

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s electronic reporting rule was set to go into place July 1, 2017.  However, according to OSHA, the organization is not ready to accept electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses.

OSHA has proposed Dec. 1, 2017, as the new deadline.

For more information, visit the OSHA website

Posted in Blog, Commercial, OSHA | Tagged  

Every Step Matters: Ladder Safety and How It Affects Everyone

March 07, 2017 | Leave a Comment

ladder safety month

Falls from portable ladders (including step, straight, combination, and extension) are consistently one of the top 10 leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

There are 2,000 ladder injuries every day and 364 deaths caused by falls each year. Whether you’re using a ladder at home or at work, these numbers affect you.

Presented by the American Ladder Institute, National Ladder Safety Month is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety, at home and at work.

This is the first blog post in a series containing important information about ladder safety.

Choosing the Right Ladder

There are three things to consider when choosing the safest ladder to use for a job: material, length, and duty rating

  1. Material
    The material from which your ladder is constructed should depend on the worksite. If you are near live wires or sources of electricity, do not use an aluminum ladder. Aluminum is a conductor of electricity and you could be affected by any contact with wiring. Wood or fiberglass is a great, but heavier, alternative when there are electrical power sources in the work area.
  2. Length
    Ladder length is an important consideration because any ladder that is too long or too short is unsafe. If you need to stand on the top cap or the step of a step ladder or the top three rungs of an extension ladder, you need to use a taller ladder.

    On the other hand, a straight ladder is too long if the height of the ceiling prohibits the ladder from being set up at the proper angle. An extension ladder is too long if the ladder extends more than three feet beyond the upper support point because the portion of the ladder that extends above the upper support point can act like a lever and cause the base of the ladder to move or slide out.

  3. Weight
    The Duty Rating found on the specifications label of a ladder is an indication of the maximum weight capacity the ladder can safely carry. Do not assume that a longer ladder will have a higher weight capacity; there is no correlation between length and the amount of weight a ladder can safely hold.

    To figure out the total amount of weight your ladder will be supporting, add the weight of the person climbing the ladder, the weight of clothing and protective equipment, and the tools and supplies being carried or stored on the ladder.

OSHA has provided a quick guide to ladder safety that you can download to print and distribute. Click here to access the guide.

From step stools to extension ladders, make sure you’re putting the right foot forward this March during Ladder Safety Month.

Posted in Blog, OSHA, Risk management, Safety | Tagged  , , ,

Hot off the press from OSHA!

October 20, 2016 | Leave a Comment

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it has agreed to further delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its injury and illness tracking rule until Dec. 1, 2016. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas requested the delay to allow additional time to consider a motion challenging the new provisions.

The anti-retaliation provisions were originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, but were previously delayed until Nov. 1 to allow time for outreach to the regulated community. Under the rule, employers are required to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting; and incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.

Have questions about OSHA’s provisions or what impact they may have on your business? Email our Loss Control Consultant Tom Scherrer, CSP, CFPS, at 


Posted in Blog, Commercial, Legislative Alerts, OSHA, Risk management, Safety | Tagged  , ,

OSHA’s Top 10 Violations and How to Avoid Them

September 08, 2016 | Leave a Comment

On Aug. 1, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration increased penalties or the first time in more than 25 years. As a catch-up, the adjustments were very significant – an 80% increase! As OSHA is now required to increase penalties annually, workplace safety is more important than ever.

Here is a list of 10 of the most common workplace violations:

  1. 1926.501: Fall Protection (Construction standard)
  2. 1910.1200: Hazard Communication
  3. 1926.451: Scaffolding (Construction standard)
  4. 1910.134: Respiratory Protection
  5. 1910.147: Lockout/Tagout
  6. 1910.178: Powered Industrial Trucks
  7. 1926.1053: Ladders (Construction standard)
  8. 1910.305; Electrical, Wiring Methods
  9. 1910.212: Machine Guarding
  10. 1910.303: Electrical, General Requirements

OSHA Violations and Safety Risks     cone-88240_960_720

By identifying some of the most frequent hazards that occur on the worksite, this list can be used as a guideline for identification of job site risks and how to improve common safety mistakes.

To understand more about these violations, how to identify them, and how to fix errors and prevent incidents on the worksite, watch our latest webinar. Click here to watch the webinar recording and learn more about the top 10 OSHA violations.

Written by: Tom Scherrer, CSP, CFPS, loss control specialist and consultant for The Cornerstone Insurance Group

Posted in Blog, Commercial, Legislative Alerts, OSHA, Risk management, Safety | Tagged  , ,

OSHA Changes and Post-Accident Drug Testing

July 08, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Employers are wondering what they need to do about their drug testing programs due to OSHA’s recent changes to their Injury and Illness electronic reporting requirements.

OSHA is suggesting that “blanket” post-accident drug-testing policies discourage the reporting of workplace accidents/injuries and can be viewed by employees as an invasion of privacy.

OSHA states that “Although drug testing of employees may be a reasonable workplace policy in some situations, it is often perceived as an invasion of privacy, so if an injury or illness is very unlikely to have been caused by employee drug use, or if the method of drug testing does not identify impairment but only use at some time in the recent past, requiring the employee to be drug tested may inappropriately deter reporting…The final rule does prohibit employers from using drug testing (or the threat of drug testing) as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses.  To strike the appropriate balance here, drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use.  For example, it would likely not be reasonable to drug-test an employee who reports a bee sting, a repetitive strain injury, or an injury caused by a lack of machine guarding or a machine or tool malfunction.  Such a policy is likely only to deter reporting without contributing to the employer’s understanding of why the injury occurred, or in any other way contributing to workplace safety. “ 

So what are employers to do?  Modify your “blanket” post-accident drug testing policy before Aug. 10, 2016, unless “blanket” drug testing is required by another state or federal law.  Post-accident testing should only be used after the employer makes the determination (on a case-by-case basis) whether drug use may have been a contributing factor to the injury.


written by: Tom Scherrer, CSP, CFPS The Cornerstone Insurance Group, Loss Control Specialist


Posted in Commercial, OSHA, Risk management

The Top Ten Most Costly U.S. Workplace Injuries

February 15, 2016 | Leave a Comment

These 10 injuries account for over 80% of the total cost of the most serious workplace injuries.  How many of these potential loss scenarios apply to your work environment?  Each would make a great safety meeting topic or toolbox talk.  Click Here to read more about these injuries and how to prevent them from happening.


Written by: Brad Wetzler, Vice President, The Cornerstone Insurance Group

Posted in Commercial, OSHA, Risk management, Safety

Post your OSHA Log Summary by February 1, 2016

January 27, 2016 | Leave a Comment

It’s that time of year again-Feb. 1 marks the deadline for you to tabulate your annual OSHA Log Summary (OSHA Form 300A) and post it in a common area wherever notices to employees are usually posted.

The summary must list the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in calendar year 2015 and logged on the OSHA 300 Form. And don’t forget to leave the Summary posted until April 30, 2016.

If you need additional assistance, have questions about recordability, or would like to compare your loss performance trends against national benchmarking data, contact your Cornerstone Consultant at 314-373-2900 or email us at for more information.

Posted in OSHA, Risk management, Safety


December 19, 2014 | Leave a Comment

In early September, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule that requires employers to notify OSHA within eight hours after an employee is killed on the job. The rule also requires notification within 24 hours when an employee suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye.The previous regulations only required notification of work-related fatalities and inpatient hospitalizations of three or more employees.  See below for a flowchart  to help you understand how the new rule will affect your reporting requirements.

Posted in Blog, OSHA, Risk management