The 2014 fiscal year marks the completion of MAP 21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The act provides funding for surface transportation programs and has been a landmark achievement for improvements in infrastructure and safety in the United States.
The Federal Highway Administration published an update to the status of MAP 21 activities in October in preparation for the coming year. MAP 21 is set to end in September 2014. The following summary highlights the achievements of the program, with respect to topics relevant to highway construction, the trucking industry, and work zone safety.
National Highway Performance Program
Surface Transportation Program
Emergency Relief Program
Appalachian Development Highway System
Territorial and Puerto Rico Highways
Guidance on infrastructure topics:
National Highway System design standards
Construction management/general contractor contracting method
Buy America (including impact on utility relocations)
Stewardship and oversight
Collection of element-level bridge data
Interstate access justifications
Strategy, schedule, and outreach on performance management
Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on National Tunnel Inspection Standards
Guidance and notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on value engineering
Guidance on safety programs and related topics:
Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) eligibility and reporting
Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP)
High Risk Rural Roads
State safety data systems
Penalty transfer provisions
Older road users
Process for development of National Freight Network
Guidance on freight-related topics:
Higher Federal share for freight projects
State freight advisory committees and plans
Guidance and best practices re: special permits in emergencies
The national initiative to improve fall protection measures has been a topic that we have touched on in various posts throughout 2013. The statistics are eye opening: In 2012, Falls killed more than 1 construction worker every 2 days, and the trend continues to grow. Have a look at our newest infographic to consider the need for Construction Fall Protection and get started implementing work safety policies to reduce your risk.
Falls in construction are a well known cause of work injury. A common misconception is that fall injuries are primarily of concern to individuals that work at heights. This is not an accurate representation of the danger presented by slips, trips, and falls, even at minimal height. In heavy and highway construction, also known as horizontal construction, falls account for approximately 25% of workers compensation claims. These consist of falls from trucks, trailers, and construction equipment (45%); ladders, stairs, and scaffolding (20%); and walking or working surfaces (5%). Fortunately, a recent national focus on fall prevention has raised awareness of the issue and improved the quality of resources available to safety professionals. Resources are published daily at sites like OSHA’s Stop Falls Initiative, CDC’s Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction, and StopConstructionFalls.com in support of this important work safety trend.
As a leading cause of injury in the workplace, the risk of falls from trucks, trailers, and equipment is an important hazard for which to mitigate risk. Communicating the need to maintain three points of contact, wear proper footwear, and clean debris from ladders and steps is a good first step. For many types of equipment, upgrading to access ladders that provide three points of contact and durable weight support can provide additional injury risk management. United Rentals is one example of a company that has provided a Safety Best Practice document recommending all employees at their 800+ locations upgrade to the Trucker portable side truck mount ladder. The Trucker ladder provides 3 points of contact, ANSI rated weight support, and slip resistant tread in a sturdy, lightweight design.
Indirect Costs from Fall Injuries
It is important to remember the indirect costs of work injuries when considering falls from minimal heights. It is easy to take for granted the risk of a fall from a 4′ flatbed trailer, particularly under the stress of work timelines. Nevertheless, while these may not always be a fatality risk, the consequences of a work injury extends far beyond broken bones and injury claims. Individuals can suffer long term complications that affect their ability to work and your company’s ability to excel. Even when injuries are minor, your company’s workers’ comp EMR (Experience Modifier Rate) is affected, causing insurance rates to go up and potentially limiting your ability to win valuable contracts. Clearly, the national focus on construction fall protection is a worthy cause for the sake of workers and the industries that employ them.
In Washington and across the country, the SHARP program is helping to bring awareness to trucking industry work injury risks, via the TIRES (Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis) initiative. SHARP (Safety & Health Assessment and Research for Prevention) is an established Washington State Department of Labor & Industries program focused on research and response to occupational safety and health issues across industries and disciplines.
With additional support from NIOSH, the TIRES program maintains a website and social media presence, provides training materials and reports, and conducts interviews and surveys with members of management and labor teams in industry.
Non-traumatic musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, back and upper extremity.
Slips, trips and falls.
Injuries from getting struck by or against an object.
These conditions comprise 71% of the industry’s workers’ compensation claims, costs and lost workdays.
The trucking work injury prevention resources available at the TIRES website is a smorgasbord for safety professionals and industry members across the country. The Washington Department of Labor & Industries also conveniently ties together reports and publications in an encyclopedia-like layout that provides everything you need to develop safety programs, research risk areas, and gather case studies for reporting.
Powered industrial trucks are common across industries for transporting, storing, and staging materials, as well as many other practical uses. Considering the wide range of applications and utility for trucks and trailers, it is not surprising that they are commonly cited for OSHA safety citations. The sheer size and power of the truck combined with the variety of transported materials are the focus of regulations for OSHA standard 1910.178.
The Top Five industries cited for Powered Industrial Truck violations sheds light on the importance of truck safety risk management in the workplace.
Manufacturing (665 Citations)
Wholesale Trade (165)
Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services (145)
Retail Trade (70)
Powered Truck Safety in Industry
OSHA has structured Industry Standard 1910.178 to ensure businesses focus on operating properly equipped trucks, consider the safety factors of transported materials and operating environments, and generally to protect against the power and size of industrial truck equipment. Fire hazards, chemical considerations, and proper labeling are the focus of the standard.
Trucks are common in many industries, particularly those with material transport needs and at construction job sites. Not surprisingly, each of the top 5 industries cited regularly conduct these activities. The standard does not apply to “compressed air or nonflammable compressed gas-operated industrial trucks, nor to farm vehicles, nor to vehicles intended primarily for earth moving or over-the-road hauling.”
Fall Protection for Truck Trailers
In addition to standards related to Powered Industrial Trucks, truck trailers provide safety risks to consider when loading, unloading, staging, and performing related work requirements. Providing safe access to trailers as well as an adequate work area for loading dock employees is a vital element to complete trucking protection. Trailer access products such as Trucker safety ladders and portable work platforms will trucking fall protection on the road, loading dock, and job site.
Floor openings are a broad OSHA standard covering stairwells, ladderways, hatches, skylights, pits, manholes, and other walking or working surfaces that workers can fall into. In industrial workplaces, floor openings commonly provide multi-level access or access to storage or materials, and are often found when labor or construction is underway. Consider the Top 10 citations for OSHA safety standard 1910.23 in 2012.
Manufacturing (302 Citations in 2012)
Wholesale Trade (71 Citations)
Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services (61 Citations)
Safety managers and operations personnel must keep in mind OSHA guidelines including proper railings, floor opening covers, toe boards, manhole guards, and platforms. Industries with the most frequent violations include manufacturing, transportation/energy, and mining. The common thread among these industries? Material storage, operational setting variations, and multi-level access.
If your work area provides access to multiple levels for which standard equipment will not safely facilitate, custom solutions may be necessary. Proper equipment will protect your employees, manage worker’s comp safety risk, and prevent OSHA citations.
Innovative Access Solutions, LLC
For custom access design, Innovative Access Solutions is an experienced and knowledgeable producer of OSHA safe solutions, across industries. For more information about IAS, visit IAScustom.com or call (800) 388-6884.