OSHA Releases its Top Ten Cited Categories for 2017

From the OSHA blog:

Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes.

Year after year, inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline. Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

It’s no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and our top 10 list features lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures. Employers must take these issues seriously. We also see far too many workers killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are often the culprit here.

Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can’t be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse. Respiratory protection is essential for preventing long term and sometimes fatal health problems associated with breathing in asbestos, silica or a host of other toxic substances. But we can see from our list of violations that not nearly enough employers are providing this needed protection and training.

The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and high number of violations for powered industrial truck safety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment. Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known. Our list of top violations is far from comprehensive.

OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. And we urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale.

To help them, we have released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces. We have many additional resources, including a wealth of information on our website and our free and confidential On-site Consultation Program. But tackling the most common hazards is a good place to start saving workers’ lives and limbs.

Learn more about Apex Forklift Operator Training and contact us to be sure your operators are trained to properly operate the forklifts you own, under the conditions you operate. Well-trained forklift operators are more productive, less costly and more profitable for your material handling operation.

Well-maintained forklifts are also more productive, safer and have a longer useful life. Find out more about how we can help you keep your forklift fleet operating at peak efficiency and safety at our forklift services page.

Contact us to learn more at 888-530-1832.

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OSHA’s Business Case for Employee Health and Safety

We talk a lot about employee safety, particularly within the confines of forklifts. But OSHA has compiled plenty of information that demonstrates it is more profitable in the long-run for companies to invest in health, wellness and safety programs for their employees. Just like forklift operator safety training, investing in other aspects of your employee’s job safety and overall health, your company reaps the rewards of less sick time, improved performance and productivity, and yes, profits. Following is OSHA’s business case:

Employers that invest in workplace safety and health can expect to reduce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. This will result in cost savings in a variety of areas, such as lowering workers’ compensation costs and medical expenses, avoiding OSHA penalties, and reducing costs to train replacement employees and conduct accident investigations. In addition, employers often find that changes made to improve workplace safety and health can result in significant improvements to their organization’s productivity and financial performance.

The following resources provide background on the economic benefits of workplace safety and health and how safety managers and others may demonstrate the value of safety and health to management.

Management Views on Investment in Workplace Safety and Health
  • Y.H. Huang, T.B. Leamon, et al. “Corporate Financial Decision-Makers’ Perceptions of Workplace Safety.” Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 767-775 (2007). This study reviewed how senior financial executives perceived workplace safety issues. The executives believed that money spent improving workplace safety would have significant returns. The perceived top benefits of effective workplace safety and health programs were increased productivity, reduced cost, retention, and increased satisfaction among employees.
Return on Investment in Workplace Safety and Health
  • Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry. Dodge Data and Analytics, CPWR, and United Rentals, (2016). Includes a section on the impact of safety practices and programs on business factors, such as budget, schedule, return on investment, and injury rates.
  • Business of Safety Committee. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). This committee gathers data, prepares documents, and is a source of professional information on ASSE’s efforts to show that investment in safety, health, and the environment is a sound business strategy. This page includes links to a variety of resources on the return on safety investment.
  • The ROI of EHS: Practical Strategies to Demonstrate the Business Value of Environmental, Health, and Safety Functions (PDF). Business and Labor Reports, (2006). Reviews strategies to help EHS professionals demonstrate the value of their programs to executive management.
  • White Paper on Return on Safety Investment. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), (June 2002). Concludes that there is a direct, positive correlation between investment in safety, health, and the environment and its subsequent return on investment.
  • Return on Investment. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). Provides information on the return on investment in workplace safety and health.
  • Demonstrating the Business Value of Industrial Hygiene (PDF). American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), (May 2008). Provides guidance on how industrial hygienists can show that they provide organizations with competitive business advantages.
  • Construction Solutions Return on Investment Calculator. CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. Helps evaluate the financial impact of new equipment, materials, or work practices introduced to improve safety.
  • Safety Grant Best Practices. Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Safety Grants Intervention Program. Case studies on the effectiveness of investment in safety equipment, including reduced incident rates and return on investment information.
  • Anthony Veltri, Mark Pagell, Michael Behm, and Ajay Das. “A Data-Based Evaluation of the Relationship Between Occupational Safety and Operating Performance” (PDF) Journal of SH&E Research Vol.4, No. 1 (Spring 2007). Results of study of 19 manufacturing firms supports theory that good safety performance is related to good operating performance.
  • R. Fabius, RD Thayer, DL Konicki, et al, “The link between workforce health and safety and the health of the bottom line: tracking market performance of companies that nurture a “culture of health.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 55, No. 9 (2013), pp. 993-1000. Companies that build a culture of health by focusing on the well-being and safety of their workforce may yield greater value for their investors. See Abstract and Press Release.
Tools for Calculating Economic Benefits of Workplace Safety and Health
    • $afety Pays. OSHA. Interactive software that assists employers in assessing the impact of occupational injuries and illnesses on their profitability. It uses a company’s profit margin, the average costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales a company would need to generate to cover those costs.
    • Safety Pays in Mining. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Estimates the total costs of workplace injuries to a company in the mining industry and the impact of profitability.

Journal Articles

Michael Behm, Anthony Veltri, and Ilene Kleinsorge. “The Cost of Safety: Cost analysis model helps build business case for safety.” Professional Safety (April 2004). Presents a cost analysis model that can help safety, health, and environmental professionals measure, analyze, and communicate safety strategies in business terms.

“Proceedings From the Economic Evaluation of Health and Safety Interventions at the Company Level Conference.” Journal of Safety Research Vol. 36, No. 3(2005), pages 207-308. These articles describe several tools currently used by companies to evaluate the economic impact of safety and health interventions.

Susan Jervis and Terry R. Collins. “Measuring Safety’s Return on Investment.” Professional Safety (September 2001). To address the challenge of maintaining effective safety programs in the face of cutbacks, the authors discuss a decision tool to help safety managers determine which program elements offer the best return on investment.

Impact of OSHA Inspections
  • D. Levine, M. Toffel, and M. Johnson, “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss.” Science, Vol. 336, No. 6083, pp. 907-911 (May 18, 2012). A 2012 study concluded that inspections conducted by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) reduce injuries with no job loss. The study showed a 9.4% drop in injury claims and a 26% average savings on workers’ compensation costs in the four years after a Cal/OSHA inspection compared to a similar set of uninspected workplaces. On average, inspected firms saved an estimated $355,000 in injury claims and compensation paid for lost work over that period. There was no evidence that these improvements came at the expense of employment, sales, credit rating, or firm survival. See Abstract and Press Release.
  • A.M. Haviland, R.M. Burns, W.B. Gray, T. Ruder, J. Mendeloff, “A new estimate of the impact of OSHA inspections on manufacturing injury rates, 1998-2005,” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, (May 7, 2012). Found that OSHA inspections with penalties of Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities reduced injuries by an average of 19-24% annually in the two years following the inspection. These effects were not found in workplaces with fewer than 20 or more than 250 employees or for inspections without penalties. See Abstract.
  • M. Foley, Z.J. Fan, E. Rauser, B. Silverstein, “The impact of regulatory enforcement and consultation visits on workers’ compensation incidence rates and costs, 1999-2008.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, (June 19, 2012). Reviewed changes in workers’ compensation claims rates and costs for Washington state employers having either an inspection, with or without a citation, or an On-site Consultation Program visit. The study concluded that enforcement activities were associated with a significant drop in claims incidence rates and costs and that similar results may also be attributable to Consultation visits. See Abstract.
Making the Business Case for Process Safety Management
  • Business Case for Process Safety. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). CCPS developed a brochure and presentation to help companies demonstrate the business case for process safety management.
Relationship Between Injury Rates and Survival of Small Businesses
  • Theresa Holizki, Larry Nelson, and Rose McDonald. “Injury Rates as an Indicator of Business Success.” Industrial Health Vol. 44(2006), pages 166-168. Study of new small businesses that registered with the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia. A statistical correlation was found between workplace safety and health and the survival of a small business. Businesses that failed within one to two years of start-up had an average injury rate of 9.71 while businesses that survived more than five years had an average injury rate of 3.89 in their first year of business.
Other Resources

Learn more about Apex Material Handling and our Forklift Operator Safety Training programs in Chicago and West Chicago. Contact us to inquire further or schedule your training at 888-530-1832.


The Cost of Not Protecting Our Workforce

A report generated by OSHA highlights the real costs associated with on the job injuries, who pays them and how this impacts the employee and taxpayers.

Whether an employee is working on a high-rise building or driving a forklift, employers have the responsibility, and what we feel is an obligation to protect their employees from injury. By investing in training and safety, employers get fewer injuries, lower costs, more productivity and an improved satisfaction which often leads to less turn over. But all companies do not feel that way. Many are finding ways to avoid responsibility for providing safe working conditions for their most dangerous jobs.

The report highlights what some companies do to avoid responsibility and what this does to not only the employee, but his/her family and taxpayers when an accident with injury occurs. Shifting the financial burden however does not make it go away. It shifts it to over-burdened worker’s compensation and government systems. In addition, a worker who is injured can expect to make an average of 15% less income after the injury. And while the creating of OSHA in 1970 by President Nixon has greatly reduced on the job accidents, injuries and deaths dramatically, we still have approximately 4,500 deaths every year due to workplace accidents.

As a full-service forklift dealership, safety is one of our most important topics. Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment for the operator and anyone working around the forklift. Forklift Operator Training and Pedestrian Training is not only the law, it is our obligation to those that operate forklifts. While manufacturers work hard to innovate and make them safer, nothing can replace a well trained and cautious operator.

Report – The Cost of Not Protecting Workers


Forklifts and Economics, the Impact

Industrial trucks and forklift sales are directly tied to our economy. When our economy does well, more forklifts are required to move the goods ordered by customers and end-users. Conversely, when a downturn occurs, forklift sales drop, sometimes dramatically as they did with the recession of 2009. What few people understood until now, the economic impact these forklifts make on our economy. Recently the Industrial Truck Association in conjunction with Oxford Economics researched the topic, and below are some of the significant findings.

  • Industrial truck manufactures generate 209,600 jobs in the US, directly and indirectly.
  • The economic impact of forklift on the US economy is $25.7 billion dollars. Here in Illinois forklifts generate over $3.5 billion dollars to our state economy.
  • Over $15 billion of that contribution is a result jobs that support forklift sales and service such as service technicians, the parts that are made and sold and installed on forklifts, training centers etc…
  • The Bureau of Labor and Statistic (BLS) estimates that there are about 540,000 industrial truck operators in the US.
  • There are over 200,000 forklifts sold annually in the US.
  • Over 1 million forklifts are sold around the world each year.
  • The industrial truck industry generate about $5.3 billion dollars in state and local taxes. Here in Illinois, state and local taxes are over $271 million dollars.

As you can see, when we sell a forklift we create a lot of work not only here at Apex, but for our customers, their customers and the impact is felt all throughout our state and national economy.

Report – Industrial Trucks Effect on State and National Economics


5 Tips to Help Reduce Heat-Related Illnesses in Your Materials Handling Operation

The hot summer months are upon us. With increased heat and humidity workers become more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Workers who are not accustomed to working in the heat can quickly become ill and experience heat stroke, which can lead to serious illness and even death. Since your forklift operators will frequently work outside and on equipment that utilizes internal combustion engine, part of your forklift operator training, should be awareness of heat illness.

There are a few things to keep in mind about heat-related illness and what you can do to help prevent it in your workers.

  1. Train your employees about the dangers of heat-related illnesses. OSHA has excellent training information and materials to help you relate this information to all of your employees who work in the heat.  Part of that training should be to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and to act upon them immediately. Never brush it off and continue working. The symptoms exist for a reason!
  2. Understand that all employees are not equally able to resist the heat. Employees should be able to assess their own conditioning and how well they handle heat. Employees who are taking certain prescription medications or have certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, need to pay special attention to how they feel while working. Employees who are new to outdoor jobs are often most susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Try to ease them into the normal workload gradually, until you’re confident they are acclimated.
  3. Provide additional water stations during the hotter months, at more convenient locations, and encourage employees to drink water every 15 minutes or so, based on temperature. Never wait until you are thirsty to start re-hydrating.
  4. Provide for more frequent breaks. In the long run employees will be more productive in the heat if they are getting proper rest to allow their bodies to cool down while also keeping themselves better hydrated during these breaks.
  5. Proper ventilation and air movement inside your warehouse or material handling facility is very important in keeping the temperature at safe levels and your workers cool. Ceiling fans, screen doors for warehouse dock doors, and roof vents are great ways to keep your facility comfortable and more productive.

OSHA has provided a wealth of information to help you provide a safe atmosphere to deal with the summer heat. While OSHA does not have a standard pertaining to preventing heat illnesses, it is up to us to be sure we have done everything that we can to help our employees stay safe and avoid heat-related illnesses.

Well-trained and equipped employees are more productive employees. Keeping them safe from the heat during the summer months ensures better productivity for tomorrow and years beyond. But it is ultimately up to us as the employers to be sure our employees are prepared to understand and act accordingly to ensure their own safety.


Celebrating Forklift Safety Day 2017

The Industrial Truck Association has announced it’s second annual Forklift Safety Day, to be held June Tuesday, June 13. There are things you can do to take advantage of this day to help create awareness about the dangers that forklifts present and how to minimize the potential for accidents that can result in injury or death, damage to your facility, equipment and financial losses. We’ve compiled a short list of things you can do on June 9th to improve safety on and around your forklifts.

  1. Make sure all your forklift operators have been trained and that their refresher training is up to date, if applicable or necessary.
  2. Take time to teach your forklift operators the importance of daily inspections of their forklifts. Daily inspections reduce the risk of equipment failure and catch small problems before they blossom into giant ones. You can find daily forklift inspection sheets on our Training Page for both IC and electric units.
  3. Download and post our free forklift safety posters that you can find on our Training Page.
  4. Take some time to gather any staff that operates around forklifts, but not on them, to refresh them about the dangers of this equipment and how to be sure to use safe procedures when they are in an area of your facility where forklifts are being operated.
  5. Make sure all your forklift’s maintenance is up to date. If you have a Planned Maintenance Agreement, this would be a good time to review it with your service provider to ensure all standard checkpoints as well as unique equipment attachments are being inspected and maintained properly.
  6. Review any unique “site specific” features your facility may have and be sure your operators are aware of proper handling of equipment while on or around these features (ramps, areas where floors can be slick, floor substrates that vary etc…)
  7. Make sure that training is part of your company’s orientation for anyone that will or MIGHT operate a forklift. Remember, employees that have not been properly trained aren’t even allowed to sit on and start a forklift, much less move it out of the way of anything.
  8. Make sure you forklifts have proper safety equipment and that it’s operating properly. Lights, horns, back-up alarms, seat belts, fire extinguishers etc… Check out our Blue Safety Light for pedestrian safety enhancement.
  9. Make sure you have lock-out kits to ensure that forklifts that do not pass an inspection are locked out immediately until repairs are made.
  10. Review all your forklifts for possible replacement. Old forklifts, or those that are getting “up there” in hours, might be potential threats. Review safety records and maintenance logs for your equipment. You might find this could be a good time to replace some or even all of your forklifts.-

Our goal is to help you operate safe, efficient and productive forklift equipment. To discuss forklift safety, operator training –or to get a quote on new equipment, please Contact Us or give us a call at 888-530-1832.


Section 179 Tax Incentives for 2017

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Jan 1, 2017 –   Section 179 is still affected by the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015” (PATH Act) that was signed into law on 12/18/2015. This bill expanded the Section 179 deduction limit to $500,000, where it will remain for all of 2017. For those interested, you may read the summary from the Ways and Means committee here.

Section 179 Deduction: Until further notice, Section 179 will be permanent at the $500,000 level. Businesses exceeding a total of $2 million of purchases in qualifying equipment have the Section 179 deduction phase-out dollar-for-dollar and completely eliminated above $2.5 million. Additionally, the Section 179 cap will be indexed to inflation in $10,000 increments in future years.

50% Bonus Depreciation will be extended through 2019. Businesses of all sizes will be able to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment acquired and put in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. Then bonus depreciation will phase down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.

IMPORTANT THIS YEAR: Section 179 for Current 2017 Tax Year
Section 179 can provide you with significant tax relief for this 2017 tax year, but equipment and software must be financed and in place by midnight December 31, 2017. Use this 2017 Section 179 Calculator to see how much the Section 179 tax deduction can save your company.

 

2016 Section 179 Tax Information (Last Year)

The PATH ACT passed in December of 2015 affected 2016 and beyond, making the Section 179 deduction for 2016 $500,000. In addition, the 50% Bonus Depreciation was reinstated.
Click Here for the fully updated Section 179 Calculator for tax year 2016 (Last Year).

Answers to the Three Most Common Section 179 Questions

How Much Can I Save on My Taxes in 2017?
It depends on the amount of qualifying equipment and software that you purchase and put into use. See the handy Section 179 Calculator that’s fully updated for 2017, and includes any/all increases from any future legislation.

What Sort of Equipment Qualifies in 2017?
Most tangible business equipment qualifies. Click here for qualifying property.

When Do I Have to Do This By?
Section 179 for 2017 expires midnight, 12/31/2017. If you wish to deduct the full price of your equipment from your 2017 taxes and take advantage of the new higher deduction limits, it must be purchased and put into service by then.

Many businesses are finding Section 179 Qualified Financing to be an attractive option in 2017, especially since the expected Federal Discount Rate increases don’t leave much time for action. Please apply today.

 

More Section 179 Deduction Questions Answered

Welcome to Section179.Org, your definitive resource for all things Section 179. We’ve brought together a large amount of information regarding Section 179, and clearly and honestly discuss the various aspects of IRS §179 in plain language. This will allow you to make the best possible financial decisions for your company.

Section 179 can be extremely profitable to you, so it is to your benefit to learn as much as possible. To begin, you may have a lot of questions regarding Section 179 such as:

We’ll answer all of these questions, and make certain that you come away with all of the knowledge you need to make smart business decisions in this 2017 tax year regarding equipment and/or software purchasing and Section 179.

Why? Because if you’ve been thinking about buying or leasing new equipment and/or software, it’s definitely to your advantage to use this excellent tax break.

Successful businesses take advantage of legal tax incentives to help lower their operating costs. The Section 179 Deduction is a tax incentive that is easy to use, and gives businesses an incentive to invest in themselves by adding capital equipment. In short, taking advantage of the Section 179 Deduction will help your business keep more capital, while also getting needed equipment, vehicles, and software.

Free Tools that Make Calculating Section 179 Deductions Simple

Section 179 is really very simple. You buy, finance or lease qualifying equipment and/or software, and then take a full tax deduction on it this year (also, there are a few other things, which we’ll go over, but in a nutshell, that’s the idea). To give you an estimate of how much money you can save, here’s a Section 179 Deduction Calculator to make computing Section 179 deductions simple.

If you use the calculator, take note of the savings on your tax obligation. Many people find that, if they lease or finance their Section 179 qualified equipment, the tax savings actually exceed the first year’s payments on the equipment (making buying equipment profitable for the current tax year). This is perfectly legal, and a good example of the incentive that Section 179 provides small and medium businesses.

Visit our website to learn more about our line-up of new material handling equipment, including:

Apex Material Handling is your source for quality material handling equipment, service, parts and rentals. Visit our website to learn more. Then contact us for a quote at 888.530.1832.