Safety Moment: Back to School with OSHA - Recordable Injuries and Top Ten Walking Working Surfaces

Every September the kids go to school and begin to learn new things. This year employers are back to school with OSHA. Two new regulations are new this year for employers.

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    First, was the improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses – which emphasized the employee's right to report injuries and illnesses free from retaliation (29 CFR 1904.35). The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years: OSHA proposed extending the compliance date for electronically submitting injury and illness reports from July 1 to December 1. Required employers can submit injury and illness data using an electronic reporting system. The anti-retaliation provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA delayed their enforcement Dec. 1, 2016. Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by December 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

    Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by December 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2. They have also posted frequently asked questions on the rule.

    The second major rule OSHA issued a final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems that was effective Jan. 17, 2017. The final rule includes revised and new information that addresses everything from fixed ladders and fall protection systems to training and design requirements. The final rule updates and revises the outdated general industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems) standards on slip, trip, and fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and lost-workday injuries (29 CFR part 1910, subparts D and I). OSHA adopted the existing standards in 1971 and has not updated them since. The final rule also adds new requirements on personal fall protection systems (29 CFR part 1910, subpart I). OSHA estimates the final rule will prevent 29 worker deaths and 5,842 lost-workday injuries each year. Additionally, because the final rule harmonizes general industry requirements with OSHA's existing construction industry standard and many ANSI standards, the new rule will make compliance both easier and less costly. OSHA estimates the annual monetized benefits of the lives saved and injuries prevented will be $614.5 million (with net benefits of $309.5 million (benefits minus costs)).

    Here are 10 specific items that changed in the standard.

    1) Training required for exposed workers or equipment users by May 2017. This includes general for exposure, roof, equipment, and key individuals (authorized, competent, and qualified persons).

    2) Equipment requirements included changes to the test weights of snap hooks and carabineers, and requirements for self-retractable lanyards, including deceleration distances.

    3) Changed safe distance to roof edges as well as defining temporary and infrequent tasks on roofs.

    4) Modified ladders and stairs requirements starting in 2018 and required safety systems on all ladders by 2036. This includes requirements for spiral stairs and ships ladders.

    5) Guardrails are now aligned with construction industry and codified 19 inch opening requirements.

    6) Requires written certification of the workplace assessment to determine if hazards are present.

    7) Rope descent systems must comply with 1910.27(b)(1)(i).

    8) Documentation requirements include assessments, training, anchors, and walking working surface load rating.

    9) Updated definitions of competent and qualified person in subpart D and I.

    10) Important compliance dates for employee training May 17, 2017, certification of anchorages on Nov. 20, 2017, existing fixed ladders need cage well, ladder safety system or PFAs Nov. 19, 2018, new ladders with ladder safety system by Nov. 19, 2018, and all fixed ladders must be equipped with a ladder safety system or PFAS by Nov. 18, 2016.

    Employers should ensure compliance, safety, and risk management in all tasks. OSHA aligned fall protection requirements for general industry with those for construction, easing compliance for employers who perform both types of activities. For example, the final rule replaces the outdated general industry scaffold standards with a requirement that employers comply with OSHA's construction scaffold standards. OSHA has created a frequently asked questions guide for the standard.

    On September 13, 2017, Don Elswick, CSP, CET, CHMM with ELSMART Associates will be discussing both of these changes during the Northeast Ohio Safety Council meeting. If you have any specific questions you want addressed at the meeting contact Don Elswick at Looking forward to seeing you on September 13, 2017 at this important information session.

    Next up: Webinar: Security Tips for Small Businesses
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  • Webinar: Security Tips for Small Businesses

    Data security is a big buzzword today. How secure is your network? Get the knowledge you need to keep the bad guys at bay.

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    Next up: Shining a Light on the LED Alternative
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  • Shining a Light on the LED Alternative

    For more than 100 years, fluorescent bulbs have been the go-to lighting source for scores of businesses. But is it the best source? A recent report from Energy Focus, Inc., titled “LED Lighting Sets the New Standard” points out the many positives associated with LED lighting.

    For more than 100 years, fluorescent bulbs have been the go-to lighting source for scores of businesses. But is it the best source? A recent report from Energy Focus, Inc., titled “LED Lighting Sets the New Standard” points out the many positives associated with LED lighting.

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    Light-emitting diodes (LED) lighting are expected to replace nearly all artificial lighting in the United States by 2030. The cost of LEDs has been driven down in recent years, thus making them a more viable alternative. But a lower cost isn’t the only benefit to LEDs. The Energy Focus report points to other, perhaps less obvious, benefits of making the switch to LED lighting.

    Light distribution

    First, starting with basic aesthetics, LED lighting evenly distributes colors across a space. This results in more saturated, vivid, discriminable color and visual acuity. And the color rendering, temperature and efficiency (LEDs use about 80% to 85% less electricity than incandescent lighting) of LED lighting is continuing to improve.


    The improved lighting does more than just look good. LED lighting is used in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and has been shown to improve mood, decrease stress, and create a generally healthier and happier environment because the lighting mimics natural sunlight. Mimicking sunlight also has a positive impact on the bodies’ Circadian Rhythm and can help keep individuals on a healthy sleep/wake cycle.

    Environmental benefits

    The LED bulbs contain no mercury or hazardous waste and are 100% recyclable. Further, they can last 20-times longer than any other artificial light source, reducing the time, cost and effort of maintenance.

    To read Energy Focus’ full report, click here. For more information on how LEDs can benefit your business, contact COSE’s Energy Team at 216-592-2205 or via email.

    Next up: Shipper Insights: How Accurate NMFC’s Can Help Control Transportation Costs
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  • Shipper Insights: How Accurate NMFC’s Can Help Control Transportation Costs

    NMFC’s must be provided by the shipper so that carriers can determine shipping rates. Learn what shippers need to know about NMFC’s to control transportation-related costs.

    One of the most important steps when preparing a LTL (Less-than-Truckload) shipment is identifying the correct NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification). The NMFC is a numerical code which describes the freight, allowing the carrier to identify the commodity and provide a shipping quote.

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    The NMFC, along with the distance from origin to destination and the weight of the shipment, will factor into the rate shippers receive from the carrier. However, to obtain an accurate quote, the shipper must know and report the NMFC for its respective commodity.

    So, what is an NMFC?

    Essentially, NMFC’s standardize the comparison of commodities for pricing across the transportation industry. The NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association) publishes NMFC’s and provides updates on a quarterly basis to keep pace with changes throughout the industry. For example, the shift by many carriers to PCF (pounds per cubic foot) pricing has caused changes in NMFC’s for a number of products over the past couple of years.

    NMFC’s group commodities into one of 18 classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500.

    NMFC’s are based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics:

    • Density

    • Handling

    • Stowability

    • Liability

    Additionally, the NMFC provides specifications such as minimum packaging requirements, value thresholds, hazardous materials safety information and more.

    Why is NMFC accuracy important?

    Simply put, transportation costs could increase if shippers report an incorrect NMFC to the carrier. Two examples include:

    • Re-Classification Fees

    • Higher Shipment Cost due to a Change in Rate Per Hundred Pounds

    How can shippers ensure NMFC accuracy?

    Continuous education is one of the best ways shippers can ensure NMFC accuracy and manage transportation-related costs. Each quarter the NMFTA releases a list of commodities which will undergo an NMFC change. To see the spring 2017 NMFC changes, download the newest Ascent Global Logistics NMFC Upcoming Changes eBook here.

    Additionally, finding a strong logistics partner can help shippers consistently identify correct NMFC’s and avoid costly re-class fees. Partnering with a third party logistics company such as Ascent Global Logistics provides another layer of expertise when classifying freight. Professional 3PL’s have a deep understanding of NMFC’s to prompt proactive questions to ensure correct classifications. Furthermore, Ascent Global Logistics provides free NMFC assistance to all clients.

    Do you need further help with NMFC’s?

    Ascent Global Logistics offers comprehensive logistics solutions including domestic freight management, international freight forwarding and retail consolidation. Within our domestic freight management solutions, we have an entire team dedicated to LTL shipping and freight classifications.

    Contact our team of logistics professionals today to learn how we can help you reach peak logistics performance. Call us at 800-689-6255 Ext. 280 or visit us at

    Next up: Skills Based Hiring
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  • Skills Based Hiring

    Some of you may not be aware, but there’s a talent shortage here in the region in IT. All jokes aside, Northeast Ohio is in need for great talent and it may be nearing a helpful solution in Skills Based Hiring.

    Some of you may not be aware, but there’s a talent shortage here in the region in IT. All jokes aside, Northeast Ohio is in need for great talent and it may be nearing a helpful solution in Skills Based Hiring.

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    So what is skills based hiring? According to Innovate-Educate out of Albuquerque, NM it is “the act of incorporating a tangible and objective measure of skills and skill level into the hiring process. With skills-based hiring, we believe employers can open their talent pool by discovering highly skilled candidates, able to do the job, who may not have been apparent through traditional hiring methods.  This system is a fundamental shift for the job seeker as well because it makes the hiring process transparent. When employers post jobs with required skills that can be objectively measured through assessments, job seekers can immediately determine if they are qualified for the job.  In cases where the job seeker does not meet the necessary skill requirements, the final piece of the system is ‘skill development’ where job seekers have access to resources and support to improve their job skills.”

    Pretty cool right? OHTech thinks so as well as several other groups in Northeast Ohio, like the RITE Regional IT Engagement board. 

    So where are we at with Skills Based Hiring currently? Here are a few things of note to share with you all about the process to date:

    1. We are in the process of determining what are the top three jobs to fill in IT
    2. We are also in the process of determining the top issues workforce issues facing our participating employers (ex. Soft skills, technical skills, unable to develop current employees etc…)
    3. We are still looking for more employers who’d be interested in committing the time to participate (the more the merrier)
    4. And soon will be in the process of shaping what the long-term project will look like

    I know I am very excited to be a part of this new project and am hoping we can get it off the ground. I feel very confident that we can add additional talent related solutions that aren’t just all focused on finding the talent. Some of those things would be helping to develop current employees to be future leaders, help with employee retention strategies, continuing education programs with our local universities just to name a few. 

    Like many of our IT companies in Northeast Ohio and our members in OHTech, we see this is a bold step towards helping Northeast Ohio become the best destination for a career in IT.

    To learn more about skills based hiring, follow this link.

    Next up: Small Business Energy Initiative: Teaching Energy Efficiency Best Practices
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  • Small Business Energy Initiative: Teaching Energy Efficiency Best Practices

    COSE/GCP recently hosted a group of chamber and small business association leaders in a deep-dive discussion around the topic of energy efficiency. Here are some of the topics that were discussed.

    Chamber and small business association leaders from across the country, spanning a region from Massachusetts to Colorado, came together under the Department of Energy Small Business Energy Initiative for a deep dive on Sept. 19 at the COSE/GCP offices in downtown Cleveland. The purpose of the gathering was to help these leaders learn catalytic strategies to engage their small business members in energy efficiency gains.

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    Led by COSE and the Institute for Market Transformation, attendees joined in a dynamic conversation that included graphic facilitation to capture the highlights, and to learn how to leverage energy efficiency and green leasing as economic development drivers for their community.

    The agenda was focused around market transformation topics that discussed the role of the chamber and similar organizations to drive small business energy efficiency; engaging the right stakeholders/team; engaging landlords and tenants at the same table around the lease to move the efficiency needle; establishing a local contractors network; and energy efficiency as a catalyst for retention strategy. 

    So, what’s next?

    No one has a magic wand or silver bullet on cracking the code of engaging small businesses better than the next organization. But when a group of likeminded, savvy leaders come together, you know some good brain trust is gathered and new ideas always emerge.

    Attendees were at all stages of the energy marketplace and through the Department of Energy initiative grant, technical assistance can be provided to these new markets to strategically implement energy efficiency programming with a green leasing component. 

    Which organizations will take the leap? During the next month, the COSE and IMT will be fleshing out those details. 

    And over the next year and a half, the Initiative will seek to conduct more than 400 energy audits across various markets (including Cleveland, through COSE’s energy audit program with FirstEnergy) and review at least 100 leases to provide recommendations around green leasing to enhance the relationship between landlord and tenant, with the ultimate goal of helping those small business realize energy efficiency goals through upgrades and retrofits.

    We will keep you up to date on the follow through that takes place following the energy initiative meeting that took place. In the meantime, visit our Energy Hub to learn more about how COSE/GCP can help your business be more energy efficient and save.

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