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Risk Control Issues NewsBrief - February 2015

“Usual” weather in “unusual” places

Severe weather affects us all — every region of the United States is prone to one or more natural hazards, be it extreme winter weather, flooding or windstorms. But over the past few years, several regions of the country have confronted unexpected weather patterns that have damaged property and disrupted lives. Fortunately, businesses can do more than just complain about the unusual weather — there are tested and cost-effective measures that can be taken to help reduce the impact from storms that occur outside their traditional geographic boundaries. Read an article from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, a Travelers alliance, which highlights some recent weather that has had business owners complaining and offers suggestions for what to do about it.

For more information about winter property protection, log in to the Risk Control Customer Portal at the top of this page and search “winter weather” in the search function in the Keyword Search. Also, check out information on our Prepare and Prevent website.

Employers reminded to post 300A injury/illness summary form

OSHA is reminding covered employers to post OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2014 and were logged on OSHA's Form 300, the log of work-related injuries and illnesses. The summary must be posted between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2015, and should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.

Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in specific low-hazard industries are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. Due to changes in OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements that went into effect Jan. 1, 2015, certain previously exempt industries are now covered. Lists of both exempt and newly covered industries are available on OSHA's website. Visit the Updates to OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule Web page for more information on recordkeeping requirements.

New outreach materials from OSHA: tree care and temporary workers

OSHA has released two new bilingual–English and Spanish—on-the-job quick references for employers and employees. Tree Care Work: Know the Hazards addresses the most common tree care work hazards and ways in which employers can prevent them.

The Temporary Worker pocket-sized pamphlet reminds individuals working through a staffing agency that they have the same rights as any other worker. The pamphlet is part of OSHA's Temporary Worker Initiative, which focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are employed under the joint employment of a staffing agency and a host employer.

These bilingual resources are easy-to-read, durable in design and ideal for health and safety trainings, consultations, and inspections. To order quantities of these or any other OSHA materials, visit OSHA's Publications Web page or call the Publications Office at (202) 693-1888.

OSHA web page offers winter storm guidance

As the temperatures drop and winter storms head in, employers can take measures to help keep workers safe. OSHA's Winter Weather Web page provides information on protecting workers from hazards they may face while working outside during the winter, particularly in severe cold weather.

The web page provides guidance on how to recognize snow storm-related hazards and the necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe while working in these conditions. This guidance includes how to protect workers from hazards associated with clearing heavy snow in front of workplaces and from rooftops.

For more information about winter property protection, log in to the Risk Control Customer Portal at the top of this page and search “winter weather” in the search function in the Keyword Search. Also, check out information on our Prepare and Prevent website.

NIST security guide walks organizations through the mobile app security vetting process

A new publication from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidance for organizations to improve security as employees move to mobile devices such as phones and tablets for their work and their applications (“mobile apps”). Smart phone and tablet users have access to a great number of installable programs (“mobile apps”) that are designed to make their lives easier, but an employee who downloads an unsafe app may unwittingly expose the organization’s computer network to security and privacy risks.

NIST’s new guide, Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications, provides organizations the information they need to assess the security and privacy risks associated with mobile apps, whether developed in-house or downloaded from mobile app marketplaces. The publication is also a guide for developers seeking to understand the types of vulnerabilities that can be introduced during an app’s software development cycle.

The guide offers plans for implementing the vetting process and considerations for developing app security requirements, and describes the types of app vulnerabilities and the testing methods to use to detect them. The document also provides guidance for determining if an app is acceptable for an organization to use.

For more information about cyber security, log in to the Risk Control Customer Portal at the top of this page. Once in the Portal, click on “Cyber Risk Management” in the left-hand navigation bar.

NIST and OSHA partner to help small manufacturing businesses protect their workers

OSHA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are teaming up to protect workers in small manufacturing businesses from hazards that can cause injuries and illnesses. Through OSHA's On-site Consultation Program and NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the agencies are combining resources to reach small and mid-sized enterprises, which represent nearly 99 percent of manufacturing firms in the United States.

NIST provides support to individual manufacturers through its nationwide network of experts and business professionals in local centers. OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country and in several territories. For more information, visit OSHA's website to read about the OSHA-NIST collaboration.

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