Every year, the rail industry spends billions of dollars to improve the national infrastructure. For example, American freight railroads spent $28 billion in 2014, and a projected $29 billion in 2015 on infrastructure and equipment. Although new projects draw the most attention, the majority of spend is on routine maintenance repair operations to ensure continuous safety and efficiency of the railroad system. There is a definite correlation between the increase in rail network investments and enhanced safety performance.
After a recent US passenger train accident last month, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a safety advisory for passenger railroads. The railroads are recommended to use an existing technology called Automatic Train Control (ATC) to alert trains appearing to be travelling at an excessive speed, in hopes they reduce their speed as they approach a curve or bridge. (On May 12, 2015, an Amtrak passenger train carrying 243 passengers and crew members derailed killing eight and injuring more than 200. The train was travelling well above the allowable speed limit for that area).
Lockout/Tagout is a process to control energy hazards for preventing accidental start-up or release of stored energy during set-up, maintenance and servicing of equipment. OSHA outlines this safety method in standard 29 CFR 1910.147 (“Control of Hazardous Energy”). Lockout/Tagout is a widely accepted practice for companies in the United States. OSHA advises US companies, “Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal! Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others….Craft workers, electricians, machine operators, and laborers are among the 3 million workers who service equipment routinely and face the greatest risk of injury. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.” Here are 3 examples of accidents due to a lack of Lockout/Tagout practices:
Guest post by Fred Dorman, Global Solutions Mgr, Business & Channel Development
Some readers may already know the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals or GHS is an internationally agreed-upon system created by the United Nations. It has been designed to replace various classification and labeling standards used in different countries with a consistent labeling system on a global level. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its Hazard Communication Standard to align with this Globally Harmonized System.
So what does this mean for Employers? Much of OSHA’s Hazardous Communication Standard has been changed in this transition and that means manufacturers and employers will have to update their hazard communication program accordingly. The new requirements include: