Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > OSHA

heat-awareness-safetyBefore we know it, the summer months will be in full swing. Remember, those who work outdoors are at a much higher risk for heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn, skin cancer and more. Skin cancer affects more than two million people every year and invasive melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, will kill more than 10,000 Americans this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is one death every 52 minutes. As an employer, are you doing enough for your crew?

Know the warning signs of heat-related illness:

  • Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Weakness, dizziness or fainting
  • Unusually elevated heart rate
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps

Protect your employees with these helpful tips:

  1. Rotate workers on a job site in and out of non-shaded areas, especially during the height of hazardous UV rays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time).
  2. Consider including heat safety and skin cancer education in your regular safety training.
  3. Educate employees on the early signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration and skin cancer.
  4. Encourage employees to look out for each other to detect wooziness, inability to focus, unsteadiness and reddening of the skin.
  5. Use and make sunscreen readily available to your employees as well as other PPE, like UV-resistant sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and re-fillable water containers.
  6. Create mandatory water breaks to re-hydrate the crew and provide them with plenty of water.
  7. Create and enforce policies about heat safety so employees know the company is serious about safety.

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For the past quarter century, the amount of OSHA penalties has remained static due to an exemption contained within the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990. However, new increases were recently introduced through the Bipartisan Budget Act – Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which was passed on November 2, 2015.

This bill contains a provision that eliminates the previous exemption applicable to OSHA penalties and, in addition, requires the federal agency to increase their penalties on an annual basis to keep up with inflation. Going forward, the annual increases will be based on the Consumer Price Index.  The legislation also gave OSHA the ability to implement an initial large increase of 78% to compensate for lack of inflation increases since the last adjustment in 1990. This significant increase is reflected in the difference between the existing maximum penalty and the new maximum penalty amounts in the chart below.

Violation Type Existing Maximum Penalty New Maximum Penalty
Other-Than-Serious Posting Requirements $7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Serious $7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Posting Requirement $7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated $70,000 per violation $124,709 per violation

The new penalty amounts take effect and will apply towards fines imposed after August 1, 2016, which will also include any related violations that took place after November 2, 2015.

This development and the recent OSHA Recordkeeping Ruling are causes for businesses to be extra vigilant in ensuring they have an adequate safety program in place, are aware of any potential workplace hazards, and verify whether their employees are up-to-date on appropriate safety training.

For further information regarding the new increases to OSHA penalties, please see the additional resources below.

Resources and additional links:


Ashley Garner, CPCU, AIC, AINS is a Risk Management Associate at Gulfshore Insurance. Ashley works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at


Update: Please click here to view our OSHA Electronic Records Submission Guide

OSHA has recently issued a final rule which revises its recordkeeping regulation. Although first proposed in November 2013, the final rule, published to the Federal Register on May 12, 2016, will require employers in certain industries to (1) electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA annually, (2) update requirements on how to inform employees to report work-related injuries, and (3) prohibit discriminating against an employee for reporting a work-related injury.

The rule takes effect on August 10, 2016, with the understanding that all 2016 injury and illness data must be submitted by July 1, 2017.

In its release, OSHA stated the purpose of the new rule as well as some expected implications. The purpose is “to prevent worker injuries and illnesses through the collection and use of timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data…to identify and mitigate workplace hazards and thereby prevent worker injuries and illnesses.”  The implications of the rule, however, are less than altruistic, since the background to the ruling admits that “disclosure of and public access to data will ‘nudge’ some employers to abate hazards” and “citations can result in orders requiring employers to abate violations.”

Who must file?

Two categories of employers must submit information from their injury records.

  1. Employers with 250 or more employees, at any time during the year, are now required to submit OSHA forms 300A, 300, and 301 once per year.
  2. Employers with 20 or more, but fewer than 250 employees, at any time during the year, and the business operates in one of OSHAs predetermined high-hazard industries, are now required to submit OSHA form 300A once per year.

Employers not falling in one of the two above categories, must submit information only if OSHA notifies them to do so, but are still required to complete and maintain the information annually (unless otherwise exempt from the recordkeeping requirement). While not yet available, OSHA expects the electronic submission of data to be processed through their website at

The high-hazard industries include construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, utilities, agriculture, grocery and department stores, many types of residential health-care facilities, freight trucking and warehousing.  For a complete list of industries which fall under the data submission requirement, follow the link below:

Resources and additional links:
Final OSHA Rule (full 273 page document)
OSHA Fact Sheet (3 page summary of rule)
List of industries required to submit data
New reporting notification poster – English, Spanish, Creole
Specific injury OSHA reporting requirements
Employers exempt from recordkeeping
OSHA Forms 300, 300A & 301


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a proposed rule aimed at lowering worker exposure to crystalline silica, which kills hundreds of workers and sickens thousands more each year. The proposed rule, which includes a separate standard for the construction industry versus “general industry,” establishes a new exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica and details widely used methods for controlling worker exposure, conducting medical surveillance, training workers about silica-related hazards, and keeping records.

OSHA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 90 days following publication in the Federal Register, and it will then hold public hearings. Find additional information on OSHA’s Rulemaking on Crystalline Silica online, including a video, procedures for submitting comments, and public hearings.

Heat-safety-OSHAHeat illness can be deadly. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable. OSHA’s nationwide Heat Illness Prevention Campaign aims to raise awareness and teach workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide valuable resources to address these concerns. Begun in 2011, the Heat Illness Prevention Campaign has reached more than 7 million people and distributed close to half a million fact sheets, posters, quick cards, training guides and wallet cards.

OSHA has available numerous resources that can be used to prevent heat illnesses:

  • The Educational Resources section links to information about heat illnesses and how to prevent them.
  • The Using the Heat Index section provides guidance to employers to develop a heat illness prevention campaign.
  • The Training section includes a guide/lesson plan for employers and others to use in instructing workers on heat illness. There are links to additional resources in other languages.
  • The Fatality map shows locations of outdoor worker, heat-related fatalities between 2008 and 2012. It is not an exhaustive list of all worker fatalities from heat exposure.

Click here to download OSHA’s Heat Safety Resources.


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