Welder OSHA safety center



National Suicide Prevention Month

September is designated as National Suicide Prevention Month. The construction industry dedicates the week after Labor Day to raising awareness about the challenges construction workers face that can lead to suicide and what can be done to prevent it. Suicide rates have risen dramatically in recent years in the U.S. There are roughly 129 suicides per day or 1 death every 11 minutes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates compared to other industries. To reduce suicides and improve mental health, policies and programs that support the prevention and treatment of workplace injuries, substance use, and mental distress should be utilized. There are a growing number of resources available to help organizations and individuals understand the issue, start a conversation, and play a role in supporting friends, co-workers and family members. CPWR’s online resource is intended to help construction employers, unions and workers quickly find information on suicide prevention.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please contact the:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - a free and confidential (U.S.) resource that connects individuals with skilled, trained counselors 24/7. Call 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting “HELLO” to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.

Is Your Workplace Ready for Emergencies?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hurricane season lasts from June 1 through Nov. 30. Hurricanes and tropical storms are predictable and usually allow facilities to prepare for potential impacts. Facility operators should:

  • Review procedures for shutting down processes and securing facilities appropriately, especially storage of hazardous chemicals.
  • Review updated state and federal guidelines for flooding preparedness.
  • Confirm that workers are familiar with requirements and procedures to contact the National Response Center – (800) 424-8802 – in the event of a spill or release.
  • Review local response contacts, such as local emergency planning committees and state emergency response commissions.

As the climate crisis increases the number and intensity of storms, owners and operators need to prepare for chemical releases, spills, and other incidents that could occur during severe weather. Check out our Disaster Response Training Courses to help you prepare!

The University of Texas at Arlington OSHA Education Center is a proud supporter of Safe+Sound: Recognizing programs to improve workplace safety and health

Safe and Sound 2023 logo

More than 5,000 workers are killed on the job each year in the United States, and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages organizations of any size or industry to participate in Safe+Sound Week 2023, to recognize and improve workplace safety and health.

For those organizations who need to energize their safety and health programs or do not have a safety and health program, the following tips can assist you in finding and managing hazards and the risk associated with them to prevent incidents and improve their bottom line.

  1. Make safety and health a core value. Show employees that management will work with them to find and fix workplace hazards so everyone can go home safely.
  2. Lead by example. Model safe behaviors and talk about safety daily.
  3. Create a reporting system. Provide a way for workers to report safety concerns in secret and without fear of retaliation.
  4. Provide training. Train workers on how to find and control hazards and report incidents.
  5. Conduct inspections. Inspect the workplace with workers to identify concerns. Use a checklist to help.
  6. Collect hazard control ideas. Ask workers for ideas to improve safety. Involve them in the solution and follow up on suggestions.
  7. Implement hazard controls. Make sure workers are involved in selecting, carrying out, and assessing ways to control hazards.
  8. Address emergencies. Find situations, create instructions, and talk about and post procedures on what to do in an emergency.
  9. Seek input on workplace changes. Check with workers before making major changes to identify possible safety or health issues.
  10. Make improvements to the program. Regularly discuss safety and health issues to find ways to improve the program.

For more information on creating or improving your safety and health program, check out OSHA’s Safe+Sound resources or take advantage of the free training on Safety & Health Management (OSHA #7500) on August 14th and 18th offered by The UTA Region VI OSHA Education Center.

Focus for Health: Heat

June and July will be remembered for extreme heat across the southern Plains, particularly across Texas. Heat impacted much of the U.S. in July and brought record temperatures to parts of the Southwest. The region as a whole tied with 2003 as the warmest July on record. Much of the eastern U.S. has been consistently warmer than average during 2023 with 28 states experiencing a top-10 warmest January–July including Florida, which ranked warmest on record. The average temperature of the contiguous U.S. in July was 75.7°F, 2.1°F above average, ranking 11th warmest in the 129-year record. The outlook for August 2023 favors well above-normal temperatures across the southern and western parts of the country.

Outdoor jobs in construction and oil and gas expose workers to dangerous conditions due to heat stress. Working in full sunlight can increase the heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stress can impact both worker safety as well as productivity. According to OSHA, heat is the leading cause of death among weather-related phenomena, and is becoming more dangerous as 18 of the last 19 years were the hottest on record. More than 31,000 work-related heat injuries and illnesses involving days away from work occurred from 2011 – 2019 in the U.S. OSHA states that “occupational risk factors for heat illness include heavy physical activity, warm or hot environmental conditions, lack of acclimatization, and wearing clothing that holds in body heat.”

How To Prevent Heat Stress

  1. Obtain the heat index forecast which provides the four starting risk levels
  2. Adjust risk levels to account for on-the-job risk factors:
    • Work in full sun – Add 15°F to the heat index
    • 75% full sun – Add 12°F to the heat index
    • 50% full sun – Add 8°F to the heat index
    • 15% full sun – Add 4°F to the heat index
    Other Work Factors: Confined areas or below-grade work; hot work; surfaces heated by the sun (decking/asphalt); strenuous work; heavy or nonbreathable protective clothing; respirators, and new or returning works who are not acclimatized.
  3. Determine the risk level an tailor protection measures.

OSHA recommends:

  • Providing workers with water, rest, and shade
  • Allowing new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize to working in the heat
  • Planning for emergencies and training workers on prevention
  • Monitoring workers for signs of illness

OSHA Offers New Resources to Promote Warehousing and Storage Safety

The warehousing and storage industry includes establishments operating facilities for general merchandise, refrigerated goods, and other products. These establishments may also provide logistical services relating to goods distribution. Potential hazards in this rapidly growing, fast-paced industry include those associated with powered industrial trucks (forklifts), ergonomics, material handling, hazardous chemicals, slip/trip/falls, and robotics. The most common injuries are musculoskeletal disorders (mainly from overexertion in lifting and lowering) and being struck by powered industrial trucks and other materials handling equipment.

OSHA's new Warehousing and Storage webpage provides information on avoiding common hazards, including operating forklifts and lifting, handling and storing materials.

Learn more about materials handling and storage hazards in our OSHA #511 Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry and our OSHA #7005 Warehousing and Storage courses.

Safety Climate-Safety Management Information System (SC-SMIS)

The new Safety Climate-Safety Management Information System (SC-SMIS) is now available for use!

Contractors and safety professionals play a critical role when it comes to improving safety management programs and strengthening a company’s jobsite safety climate. Success requires an understanding of the jobsite safety climate and being able to employ strategies or resources to make improvements. The new Safety Climate-Safety Management Information System or SC-SMIS is now available at NO COST to:

  • Measure a company’s jobsite safety climate across eight leading indicators using CPWR’s reliable and valid safety climate assessment tools: the S-CAT or S-CATsc
  • Download evidence-based safety management policies, procedures, guidelines, and templates from a large resource repository that can be used to strengthen low-scoring indicators. All documents are formatted in Word so they can be tailored to your company’s needs and are available in English and Spanish.
  • Develop a Plan to put the selected resources into action and keep track of current and completed plans.

Falls to Lower Level Tops List of Costliest Construction Injuries

The top five costliest injuries in the construction industry in 2018 had a combined price tag of nearly $9 billion, according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index – an annual ranking of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries based on direct workers’ compensation costs involving more than five days away from work. Falls to a lower level was the costliest injury at almost $3.6 billion, followed by overexertion resulting from handling objects ($2.2 billion), struck by objects or equipment ($1.4 billion), falls on the same level ($990 million), and other exertions or bodily reactions ($670 million). Those five injury types made up around 84% of all injuries in construction for the year.

Learn how to prevent these costly incidents by attending one of our OSHA #3115 Fall Protection classes in-person or via live webcast!

Free Online OSHA Training Courses

Looking for some free short training courses on critical safety and health issues? These one hour training courses developed by Region VI OSHA and the OSHA Education Centers provide information on a variety of topics:

» Amputation
» Electrical Safety
» Healthcare Safety
» Heat Stress
» Ladder Safety Symposium
» Preventing Falls in the Workplace
» Protecting Workers in Oil and Gas
» Protecting Workers in Trenches
» Safe+Sound
» Silica: Every Breath You Take
» Tank Cleaning


The Basic Steps to Prevent Falls in Construction: Plan, Provide, Train

Falls are the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths on the worksite in construction. Each year in the U.S. more than 200 construction workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured by falls. It is essential that employers set up jobsites to prevent employees from falling from overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls. As OSHA highlights in its outreach campaign, falls can be prevented and lives can be saved through three important and highly effective steps: Plan, Provide and Train.

  • PLAN ahead to get the job done safely: Employers must plan projects that involve working from heights to ensure that the job is done safely by deciding how the job will be done, the tasks involved and the safety equipment that may be needed to complete each task. CPWR provides a tool for developing a Fall Protection Plan.
  • PROVIDE the right equipment: To protect workers who are six feet or more above lower levels, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. If workers need personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) for roof work, employers should provide a properly fitting harness for each worker who needs to tie off to an anchor and make sure the PFAS is worn properly and is inspected regularly.
  • TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely: Every worker should be trained to recognize hazards and to properly set-up and safely use equipment required for his/her job. OSHA has provided numerous materials and resources to train workers on safe practices to avoid falls in construction.

Learn how to prevent falls on your jobsites by understanding the hazards and developing a thorough fall protection plan, providing the right equipment, and training your workers on hazard awareness and the proper use of safety equipment by taking one of our OSHA #3115 Fall Protection classes.

Confined Spaces - Overlooked Hazards

Many workplaces contain “confined spaces”, while not designed to accommodate people, these spaces are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain required tasks. A confined space is not designed for human occupancy but is large enough and configured so a worker can bodily enter and has limited or restricted openings for entry or exit. When the potential for a hazard exists in this space, it becomes a permit-required space governed by specific OSHA standards. Typical confined spaces include tanks, storage bins, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, ductwork, and pipelines. Many employers are not aware of their responsibilities under OSHA’s General Industry Permit-Required Confined Space Standard regarding workers who are exposed to the hazards of confined spaces. Employers must identify all potential hazards, develop written safety and rescue procedures, and provide training and protective equipment to workers to eliminate or greatly reduce the risks of working in confined spaces and to maintain full OSHA compliance. Learn more on OSHA’s Confined Space webpage.

OSHA published the Protecting Construction Workers in Confined Spaces: Small Entity Compliance Guide to assist employers and workers in understanding their requirements under the Confined Spaces in Construction Standard. This 57-page guide covers a wide range of topics, including employer responsibilities, overview of the standard, identifying permit spaces, worker training, rescue and emergency services, and permit-required confined space program and entry permit samples. See also OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction webpage.

Want to learn more? Check out our upcoming OSHA #2264 Permit-Required Confined Space Entry classes.

Excavation and Trench Safety

Each year, construction workers are injured or killed when the walls of the trench they are working in collapse. One cubic yard of dirt can weigh 3,000 pounds or more. As a result, survival time in a collapsed trench can be as little as a minute if the victim is buried and there are no air pockets. This means that sometimes, not even immediate rescue can save the victim. Trench collapses and cave-ins are a serious threat to workers, but they can be prevented.

  • PREPARE a safe trench. - Provide safe entry and exit before starting work. - Keep materials at least 2 feet away from the edge.
  • PROTECT workers from a cave-in by using protective systems. - Sloping or benching trench walls, or - Shoring trench wall with supports, or - Shielding trench walls with trench boxes.
  • INSPECT the trench for hazards. - Look for standing water and other environmental hazards. - Never enter a trench unless it has been inspected and approved by the competent person.

OSHA has made reducing trenching and excavation hazards the Agency's Priority Goal. To learn more, enroll in next OSHA #3015 Excavation, Trenching, and Soil Mechanics course.

Region VI OSHA Enforcement Initiative Targets Tank Cleaning Operations

Effective July 23, Region VI OSHA launched a new enforcement initiative to target transportation tank cleaning operations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Workers employed in the industry face many hazards that can lead to serious injury, illness, and death, including fire, explosions, hazardous atmosphere, and hazardous chemicals. The targeted industries include:

  • NAICS 484110: General Freight Trucking, Local
  • NAICS 488210: Support Activities for Rail Transportation
  • NAICS 488490: Other Support Activities for Road Transportation
  • NAICS 488510: Freight Transportation Arrangement
  • NAICS 562910: Remediation Services
  • NAICS 562920: Materials Recovery Facilities
  • NAICS 562998: All Other Miscellaneous Waste Management Services

This initiative provides OSHA enforcement officers the authority to evaluate the employers’ workplace(s) at all programmed, unprogrammed, or other limited-scope inspections pertaining to transportation tank cleaning operations to assure that employees are being properly protected.

Region VI OSHA and OSHA Education Centers have partnered to prepare a free webinar to assist companies in understanding the hazards and the controls. Outreach, consultation services, and training will be provided to affected employers as requested.

"Take 3 in 30" Challenge

Management leadership is a core element of a workplace safety and health program. Accelerate your program and show your commitment in your workplace. 3 in 30! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Take 3 actions in 30 days
    There are lots of ways to accelerate your program! Choose from our list or pick one of your own. Every workplace is different so select actions that work best for you.
  2. Share in your workplace
    It is important for your employees to see your commitment to safety! Show them that safety starts with you! List your three actions and share it on social media, in your company newsletter, or post it in the workplace.
  3. Accept your challenge coin
    You did it! Visit our website once you complete your activities to download your virtual challenge coin for showing Management Leadership. Share it on social media, post it in your workplace, or put it in your signature file – display it proudly!

Download the Take 3 in 30 Challenge and share in your workplace and on social media!


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