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February 26, 2019
Three 2019 worker deaths in Washington State, DOSH says

Just a few weeks into 2019, three workers have died in Washington State, according to the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) of the Department of Labor and Industries.

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The three workplace fatalities, which all occurred in January, are:

  • A worker who sustained fatal injuries during a January 22 shooting incident in a gasoline station with a convenience store;
  • A truck driver who was fatally injured January 4 after being involved in a motor vehicle accident; and
  • A construction worker who died January 2, who was seriously injured December 31, 2018, after falling from a scaffold while climbing in between the space of a building and a scaffold.

Top ten WISHA violations

Washington is a state plan state authorized by federal OSHA. State programs must be at least as effective as federal OSHA. Washington’s program was established under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1973 (WISHA).

Like federal OSHA and other state programs, DOSH tracks the most cited safety and health standards. The ten most violated WISHA standards are:

  • Fall Protection;
  • Accident Prevention Program (Construction);
  • Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication;
  • Accident Prevention Program (General Industry);
  • Safety Committees and Safety Meetings;
  • Personal Protective Equipment;
  • Ladder Use;
  • Basic Electrical Rules;
  • First-Aid Training and Certification; and
  • Asbestos, Tremolite, Anthophyllite, and Actinolite.

There are no equivalent federal standards for accident prevention programs and safety committees and safety meetings. Like California’s state safety and health program, some of Washington’s standards also are more stringent than federal standards.

Washington STAR and MERIT VPP workplaces

DOSH administers OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program at Washington workplaces. DOSH partners with labor and management at VPP sites to achieve safety objectives not achievable through enforcement alone.

STAR sites have met all VPP requirements. MERIT participants have shown the potential and willingness to achieve STAR status and are taking planned steps to fully meet the STAR requirements.

DOSH will host a VPP Seminar March 9, with a keynote address by Michael Wood, CSP, administrator of Oregon OSHA. There also will be sessions on:

  • Improving safety culture with the VPP self-evaluation,
  • Building trust in the workplace, and
  • Developing and maintaining a high-quality industrial hygiene program.

Train the trainer

WISHA 10 agricultural worker training certification is a safety and health curriculum for entry-level agricultural workers. The training usually is conducted over the course of two days in English or Spanish, depending on the first language of the workforce. WISHA 10 for Agriculture training covers the prevention of the most common hazards in agricultural work:

  • Being struck by machinery or an object,
  • Falls from heights,
  • Caught in or between moving objects,
  • Pesticide exposure, and
  • Improper use or lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

DOSH also offers “train the trainer” courses for those who wish to become certified to teach the WISHA 10 for Agriculture course. The Training of Trainers is a 32-hour course taught over four days. There is no charge for the course, and it’s offered at locations throughout the state.

The course is designed for safety professionals with at least five years of agriculture safety and health experience, or either a:

  • College degree in occupational safety and health; or
  • Certification as a safety professional, industrial hygienist, safety manager or other occupational safety and health professional.

TOT covers:

  • WISHA and safety standards for agriculture;
  • Tractor safety;
  • Accident prevention programs;
  • Hazard communication;
  • Machine guarding;
  • PPE;
  • All-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety;
  • Pesticide safety/Worker Protection Standard;
  • Orchard ladders;
  • Field sanitation;
  • Outdoor heat exposure;
  • Preventing stains and sprains (ergonomics); and
  • Industrial insurance.

Employers in Washington State should be aware that there are WISHA safety and health standards that do not correspond to any federal standard. Some WISHA standards also are more stringent than federal standards. However, DOSH offers consultation services, partnerships like VPP, and training like the WISHA 10 Training of Trainers program that can help prevent worker injuries and illnesses.

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