RMSC Safety Sentinel: May

A Newsletter for AssuredPartners NL Agents & Clients

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SPOTLIGHT ON ATV’S

Work-related All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) injuries are on the rise. Forty-one workers were killed using ATVs in one recent year. According to OSHA, the primary reasons for these accidents in work situations involve:

• Unbalanced loads and loads in excess of the ATV’s specified limits (especially overloading the rear cargo rack)
• Operating at excessive speeds for the terrain/operation

• Operating ATVs on paved roads

• Not wearing a protective helmet
• Insufficient or no training
• Carrying passengers

Accident Prevention

The following guidelines will help reduce the risk of injury to employee operators of ATVs:

• Provide instruction and hands-on training on safe handling and operation of ATVs. Ensure that employees are competent in operating their specific ATV under the variety of conditions in which they will be driving. The major ATV manufacturers provide free hands-on training to purchasers of new ATVs and can provide additional training at a reasonable fee. The ATV Safety Institute (www.svia.org) also has training programs available.

• Ensure that all likely ATV drivers have reviewed and understand the operator’s manual.

• Ensure that all manufacturer’s warnings are followed and that drivers review and understand them.

• Do not permit ATV drivers to carry passengers.

• Ensure that a pre-ride inspection of the ATV is performed.

• Ensure that drivers wear proper helmets and boots. Where conditions require, ensure the use of goggles, gloves, and other safety clothing.

• Establish policies stating where ATV use is prohibited, such as on paved or public roads and in areas with high vehicular or heavy equipment traffic.

• Ensure that employees drive at speeds appropriate to for avoidance of potential hazards and for the type of terrain (e.g., mud, snow, ditches, gravel, etc.).

• Ensure that employees and all contractors using ATVs on your worksite are aware of any site-specific hazards, such as excavations, trenches, and areas where ATV use is prohibited.

• Establish a maintenance program for all ATVs that meets the manufacturer’s recommendations

• Ensure that employees only haul items on the ATV in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and never exceed the weight limit.
• Ensure loads are evenly distributed.

• Do not allow modification of ATVs without approval from the manufacturer.
• Monitor manufacturer’s recalls and act promptly if a recall is issued for your ATV(s).

SAFETY AND HEALTH MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Part of OSHA’s mandate to assure the safety and health of America’s working men and women includes encouraging every workplace in America to establish an effective safety and health management system (SHMS). This involves empowering every level of an organization to instill a culture that reduces employee injuries and illnesses while improving a worksite’s financial bottom line. To meet the changing requirements of new technologies and industries and the hazards they can create, OSHA is in the process of updating its 1989 voluntary SHMS guidance document. In addition, the OSHA Web site currently offers a SHMS eTool at this link: OSHA e tool that demonstrates how to develop a safety and health management system to meet the needs of any business.

STATE – SPECIFIC WORKER’S COMP. NEWS

Oklahoma – Oklahoma’s court-based workers’ compensation system will transition to an administrative system under legislation signed May 6 by Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

In addition to restructuring the system, the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act (S.B. 1062) allows employers to opt out of the state’s workers’ comp system as long as they provide similar benefits to injured employees.

An administrative system will improve the timeliness of claims processing and reduce the “adversarial nature of the process for both workers and employers,” according to a press release from Fallin’s office.

Ohio – According to recently a announced proposal by Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich (R) Ohio employers would receive nearly $2 billion in the form of workers’ compensation rebates, lower rates and worker safety grants. The proposal includes $1 billion in rebates, which equals more than half of employers’ most recent annual premium, going directly to employers, according to a May 2 press release from the governor’s office.

The proposal also includes tripling of the state’s safety and wellness grant program to $15 million and lowering workers’ comp rates 2-4 percent through a modernization of the payment system used by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

ERGONOMICS AND WORKPLACE STRETCHING PROGRAMS

An effective ergonomic program that includes engineering controls, administrative controls and stretching can reduce the physical demands of manual material handling and reduce the occurrence of Musculo-Skeletal Disorders (MSDs). Employers who have implemented OSHA’s ergonomic guidelines have lower incidence of cumulative trauma injuries and associated workers’ compensation costs.

Despite ergonomic programs having a demonstrated scientific benefit in the workplace, only California has a requirement for them. The California ergonomic standard is triggered when a workplace has two or more cumulative trauma injuries as identified by a medical professional.

Companies seeking to implement stretching or ergonomic programs need to ensure that they have appropriate instructors for the programs, and the exercises or stretches must be tailored to the duties of workers. For a stretching program to be effective, workers have to participate at least 2 to 3 days per week with a time commitment for each session of 5 to 10 minutes. To view ergonomic information visit: OSHA Ergonomic Guide link

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For additional information on these topics or for Loss Prevention assistance, contact:

Paul Fox pfox@rmsc.com or (502-708-3111)

RMSC has exercised due and customary care in producing this newsletter but has not independently verified information provided by others. No other warranty, express or implied, is made with regard to the content of this newsletter. Therefore, RMSC assumes no liability from any loss resulting from errors, omissions or misrepresentations made by others. The use of this information by third parties shall be at their own risk and RMSC accepts no duty of care to any such third party.

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