The newsletter of Minnesota OSHA • Spring 2007 • Number 55

Safety Lines
True costs of a workplace accident
By Gary Robertson, Training Officer

The most recent occupational injury and illness figures show there were an estimated 104,100 recordable workplace injury and illness cases in Minnesota in 2005 (Bureau of Labor Statistics annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, available online at www.doli.state. When someone becomes ill or injured on the job, the employer is responsible for the employee's medical costs, if necessary, but unknown costs – in even the most minor of incidents – add to the true cost of a workplace accident.
Costs to employee and coworkers

When a relative, neighbor or friend has been injured or becomes ill at work, depending on how serious the situation is, major life-changes or even seemingly minor disruptions may occur for the injured person and his or her family. Injuries or illnesses can also be distressing to coworkers who observed the accident or do the same type of work. The welfare of the injured person is the utmost concern. The physical pain associated with the injury, maybe an operation or operations, hospitalization, rehabilitation and, perhaps, having to change vocations are all real possibilities. During the initial few weeks, friends and family members step forward to pick up the slack, shoveling snow, mowing grass, making meals and more, but then what? The family, especially if there are children, may have to make some unwanted adjustments. What will mom or dad be like when they get home? What changes and sacrifices may have to be made by everyone in the family? Answers to these questions may be far reaching and can affect lifestyles, education plans and more, well into the future. Pressing financial decisions may need to be made if money problems arise. These costs and concerns are very real problems that may affect a family that has experienced a work-related injury. Circumstances vary, but injury-related costs are fairly consistent, on-going, visible and scary.
Costs to the employer

... hidden costs could affect the bottom line of any company when a workplace accident injures or sickens an employee.

Industry, more specifically the employer, has a significant share in costs associated with workplace injuries. Many of the costs are hidden

443 Lafayette Road N. • St. Paul, MN 55155 • (651) 284-5050 • 1-800-342-5354 •

and may not be exposed for some time. It is important that employers recognize and understand both the direct or obvious costs, as well as the hidden costs of a workplace injury. Workers' compensation costs in Minnesota were $1.6 billion in 2005, according to the Minnesota Workplace Safety Report. The average cost of an insured claim in 2003 was more than $7,000 when benefits (indemnity, medical and vocational rehabilitation) plus other costs, such as claim adjustment and litigation, are included. Paying attention to the dollar amounts of hidden costs is more difficult, but can be a helpful way to underscore the importance of having effective workplace safety and health programs. A comprehensive program, such as A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) program, helps keep employers in compliance with MNOSHA standards and rules, and helps make a workplace free of hazards. Such programs help eliminate the astronomical dollar amounts of the hidden costs following a workplace accident. The list below is of some indirect or hidden costs; the list may be much longer. These hidden costs could affect the bottom line of any company when a workplace accident injures or sickens an employee. Again, these are costs that are not so easy to see, but may show up at any time, depending on the situation.
Indirect costs

• lost productivity • equipment damage and down time • production delays • good will, reputation in the community • OSHA penalties

• hiring costs • clean-up time • rental costs • unhappy customers • spoiled product, materials

• training costs • re-work • legal fees • increased insurance costs • other

In January, The Travelers Companies, Inc. (formerly St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc.) participated in a MNOSHA Construction Breakfast seminar, providing the following example to illustrate the hidden cost of lost productivity and the amount of additional sales a company would be required to generate to pay for this lost productivity caused by a minor foot injury that requires some medical attention. Some rebar was being unloaded from a flatbed at a construction worksite. A worker directing this operation tripped and got his foot caught under the load. He was taken to a hospital for immediate care. The cost of the medical care was $250.
Injured worker Crane operator and three workers Foreman Forty-five other site workers Insured worker returns at 60-percent efficiency for two weeks Inexperienced iron worker replaces injured worker at 75-percent efficiency Safety director conducts accident investigation Support staff, administrative time Total time Indirect cost of minor foot injury

Time/wage involved
7 hours @ $18 an hour 4 x one-half hour @ $18 an hour 3 hours @ $20 an hour 1/4 hour @ $18 an hour x 45 .4 x 80 hours @ $18 an hour .25 x 16 hours @ $18 an hour 4 hours @ $75 an hour 4 hours @ $10 an hour 68 hours

Dollar amount
$126 $36 $60 $202 $576 $72 $300 $40 $1,412

To earn 4-percent profit margin, $35,300 of additional work is needed to break even.

True costs, continues ...
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True costs, continued ...

This company would need an additional $35,300 in sales, for a 4-percent profit margin, to make up just for the time lost due to this minor injury. Hidden costs could easily add much more cost to this situation, magnifying the true costs and the importance of having effective safety programs to reduce accidents.
Costs to the state

Minnesota OSHA also incurs costs when it is called to investigate a serious accident. This following is an estimated average cost of an investigation of a fatal or serious injury accident. It includes various indirect costs when the investigation travels through the citation, review and tracking processes. This review is hypothetical, but it provides a candid snapshot of other hidden costs that need to be considered. This example uses the estimated hours spent for each process, multiplied by the wages paid in the year 2005. It does not include the cost of any police or rescue unit that may be called.
Possible MNOSHA investigation costs
Description Investigation hours in the field Total cost of writing report(s) Internal review Legal review Use of state resources Administrative tracking Communication/administration Appeal process Total Dollar amount $479 $4,124 $1,054 $2,100 $138 $392 $414 $236 $8,937

Direct costs, combined with the hidden costs – to the employee (and his or her family), the employer and the state – are the real or “true costs” of workplace injuries and illnesses. When analyzed, these costs explain and justify efforts to have effective safety programs. Mandatory safety programs, such as the AWAIR program, safety training required by insurance companies and employer safety programs, all have an effective role in reducing injuries to employees, helping avoid having to incur the true costs of a workplace accident.

'Dig in' with MNOSHA:
Final Construction Breakfast of the season explores excavation, trenching
Minnesota OSHA wraps up its Construction Breakfast season with a focus on excavation and trenching May 15. The breakfast seminar will be presented by Debra Hilmerson, Hilmerson Services, LLC; Deb Peterson, MNOSHA supervisor; and Gary Robertson, MNOSHA training officer. Join MNOSHA for breakfast and a review of the excavation standard, including: when a trench needs to have protection, types of protection, soil classification systems, the competent person and employee training. More information, including registration options, is online at
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Mark Monson, The Travelers Companies, Inc., speaks about residential fall protection at the MNOSHA Construction Breakfast, March 20, in St. Paul, Minn.

Update: Minnesota OSHA standards
By Shelly Techar, MNOSHA Management Analyst

Roll-over protective structures

On July 20, 2006, the Federal Register published a federal OSHA notice amending the roll-over protective structures (ROPS) standards by addressing a comment, correcting editorial errors and improving consistency among the figures generated for these standards. The corrections and technical amendments do not change the substantive requirements of the ROPS standards. Minnesota OSHA adopted the amendments Feb. 20, 2007.
Assigned protection factors

On Aug. 24, 2006, the Federal Register published a federal OSHA final rule for new assigned protection factors (APFs) for respiratory protection programs, which are being incorporated into the OSHA respiratory protection standard. APFs are numbers that indicate the level of workplace respiratory protection a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide to employees when used as part of an effective respiratory protection program. This APFs final rule completes the revision of the reserve sections of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard as published in 1998. The Respiratory Protection Standard will now contain provisions necessary for a comprehensive respiratory protection program, including selection and use of respirators, training, medical evaluation and fit testing. Minnesota OSHA adopted the amendments Feb. 20, 2007. Federal Register notices and standards are available on the federal OSHA Web site,

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Safety Grant Program awards match for safety project costs
The Safety Grant Program, administered by Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation, awards funds up to $10,000 to qualifying employers for projects designed to reduce the risk of injury or illness to their workers. To qualify, an employer must meet the following conditions: • the employer must have workers' compensation insurance; • the employer must come under the jurisdiction of Minnesota OSHA; • a qualified safety professional must have conducted an on-site inspection and there must be a written report with recommendations based on the inspection; • the project must be consistent with the recommendations of the safety inspection and must reduce the risk of injury or disease to employees; • the employer must have the knowledge and experience to complete the project, and must be committed to its implementation; • the employer must be able to match the grant money awarded and all estimated project costs must be covered; and • the project must be supported by all public entities involved and comply with federal, state and local regulations where applicable.
Safety Grant Program report: July through December 2006 Kind of grant Total Private sector Public sector Schools Cities Counties State Equipment purchased E-Z lift, overhead lift, electric bed, machine guard, hoist, personal protective equipment (PPE), highvisibility vest, pallets lift, lowboy, scaffolding, scissors lift, sprinkler system, trench box, aerial lift, bridge crane, lumber puller, pile turner, grappler and more. • From 1995 to 2007, Workplace Safety Consultation awarded 1,767 grants. • Number of grants 77 65 12 1 9 1 1 Total project costs $2,145,740 $1,923,542 $222,198 $3,720 $209,846 $4,260 $4,372 Employer match fund $1,778,812 $1,607,246 $171,566 $1,860 $165,390 $2,130 $2,186 State match fund $366,928 $316,296 $50,632 $1,860 $44,456 $2,130 $2,186

Breakdown of public-sector grants

More information about Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation and the Safety Grant Program is available online at or by calling (651) 284-5060.

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Standard Minnesota Statutes 182.653 subd. 8 1910.151(c) Minnesota Rules 5206.0700 subp. 1 MN Rules 5206.0700 subp. 1(B) 1910.212(a)(1) M.S. 182.653 subd. 2 1910.242(b)

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Occupational Safety and Health Division 443 Lafayette Road N. St. Paul, MN 55155 (651) 284-5050 Toll-free: 1-877-470-6742

Fact sheet
Minnesota OSHA's most frequently cited standards 2006
Description A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) Program Emergency eyewash/shower facilities Overall Employee Right-To-Know training program Frequency 214 176 171 171 140 131 131 126 115 112 111 105 104 87 84 83 79 77 76 74 71

Employee Right-To-Know written program Machine guarding – general requirements General duty clause – unsafe working conditions Compressed air used for cleaning exceeds air pressure limit 1910.147(c)(4)(i) Development and use of lockout/tagout procedures MN Rules 5205.0116 subp. 1 Forklifts – employee exposure monitoring for carbon monoxide 1910.147(c)(6)(i) Periodic inspections of energy control procedures (lockout/tagout) MN Rules 5206.0700 subp. 1(G) Employee Right-To-Know training frequency 1926.501(b)(1) Fall protection in construction – general requirements 1910.134(a)(2) Respiratory protection program 1926.451(g)(1) Fall protection on scaffolds above 10 feet 1910.178(l) Forklifts – operator training 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) Point of operation guarding of machines 1910.147(c)(7)(i) Energy control program training 1910.332(b)(1) Training in electrical safety-related work practices 1910.133(a)(1) Eye and face protection 1910.305(d) Electrical hazards involving switchboards and panelboards 1910.23(c)(1) Guardrails for open-sided floors

Most frequently cited, continues ...

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Most frequently cited, continued ...

Standard 1910.132(d)(1) 1926.652(a)(1) MN Rules 5205.1200 subp. 3 1910.219(d)(1) and (e)(2) 1926.100(a) MN Rules 5205.0890

Description Personal protective equipment hazard assessment and selection Use of sloping or protective systems to prevent excavation cave-ins Frequent inspections of cranes and hoists with oneton capacity or less Machine guarding – belts and pulleys Head protection Barrier guard on hydraulic presses to prevent ejection of material

Frequency 67 63 63 63 51 50

Links to the standards listed above are available online, as well as similar lists that are construction specific and general-industry specific, at, under "Citations."

You’re invited to the 2007 Minnesota Safety & Health Conference, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Exhibits are open May 9-10. The Minnesota Safety & Health Conference is the state’s largest safety and health event, featuring national and regional experts providing updates and in-depth information on current safety and health topics. Mark your calendar NOW to participate in the 73rd annual Minnesota Safety & Health Conference. Call the Minnesota Safety Council, 651-291-9150 or 1-800-444-9150 for registration information. Details online at:

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Federal OSHA highlights close calls, danger
By Diane Amell, Training Officer

A recently added federal OSHA Web page, Making a positive difference: OSHA saves lives, features instances where compliance officer action or safety equipment prevented employee death or serious injury. The events occurred in different parts of the country and involve hazards such as trench cave-in, falls and structural collapse. • Within a minute of two compliance officers ordering an employee out of an unshored, unsloped trench, the trench wall where the worker had been collapsed.

• With help from a building inspector, a compliance officer removed three workers from inside and on top of a partially framed structure. The walls and the roof were not braced. A few minutes later, the structure collapsed (see photos above). • Within two months of each other, two ironworkers fell off steel beams at the Lambeau Field renovation project in Green Bay, Wis. Both were saved and were able to return to work the same day due to their personal fall-arrest equipment. The general contractor on site has a partnership agreement with federal OSHA, requiring 100 percent use of fall protection above six feet. These stories and others can be found at; new stories are added periodically. Additional OSHA success stories can be found on the OSHA 35-year milestones page. Featured achievements, listed chronologically, include landmark regulations such as bloodborne pathogens and process safety management, state-plan creation and cooperative programs. This page can be viewed at

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Recordkeeping 201: Part 1

Privacy concern cases — when not to write a name
By Brian Zaidman, Research Analyst Research and Statistics

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of an occasional series of more advanced topics about recording occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA Form 300. This information is directed to people who are new to OSHA recordkeeping activities, who want to review their recordkeeping practices or who want to improve their recordkeeping skills. The previous series about recordkeeping, covering basic information about filling in the OSHA log and creating an annual summary, is available at www.

Sometimes the right of access to occupational injury and illness information needs to be balanced with an individual’s expectation of privacy. All employees, former employees, their personal representatives and their collective bargaining agents can review the OSHA Form 300, the OSHA log. However, some workers may have experienced recordable injuries and illnesses that raise privacy concerns, such as injuries to intimate body parts and mental illnesses. The OSHA recordkeeping requirements address these situations in 29 CFR paragraphs 1904.29(b)(6)-(9). Basically, these paragraphs specify that in certain instances, the privacy of the injured or ill employee can be maintained by entering “privacy case” in the space normally used for the employee’s name. To reduce the amount of decision-making necessary, OSHA requires that all instances of certain injuries and illnesses be treated as privacy concern cases and the employer must not enter the employee’s name on the OSHA log. All instances of the following injuries and illnesses must be handled as privacy concern cases: 1. an injury or illness to an intimate body part or the reproductive system; 2. an injury or illness resulting from a sexual assault; 3. mental illnesses; 4. HIV infection, hepatitis or tuberculosis; 5. needlestick injuries and cuts from sharp objects that are contaminated with another person’s blood or other potentially infectious material; and 6. other illnesses may be treated as privacy concern cases if the employee independently and voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log.
Recordkeeping 201: Part 1, continues ...

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Recordkeeping 201: Part 1, continued ...

This is a complete list; no other cases may be handled as privacy concern cases, even if an employee requests his or her name not be listed on the log. When an OSHA 300 log has privacy concern cases, the employer must also keep a separate, confidential list of these privacy concern cases, including the employee’s name and the case number from the OSHA 300 log. This separate list is needed to allow a government representative to obtain the employee’s name during a workplace inspection and to help employers keep track of such cases in the event that future revisions to the entry become necessary. In some specific situations, coworkers who are allowed to access the log may be able to deduce the identity of the injured or ill worker in a privacy concern case. The recordkeeping requirements permit employers to mask or withhold information that could be used to identify an employee in a privacy concern case. For example, if only one woman works at a location or in a certain department, the employer may leave out the gender and department information. Employers are required to enter enough information to identify the cause of the incident and the general severity of the injury or illness, but employers may exclude details of an intimate or private nature. For example, a sexual assault case could be described as an “injury from assault,” and an injury to a reproductive organ could be described as a “lower abdominal injury.” Reproductive disorders, certain cancers, contagious diseases and other disorders that are intimate and private in nature may also be described in a general way to respect privacy concerns without sacrificing the descriptive value of the recorded information.

Records access and information disclosure

Next installment:

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MNSTAR status awarded to three outstanding worksites
Three outstanding Minnesota worksites achieved Minnesota Star (MNSTAR) status in January and February. Workplace safety and health representatives from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) recognized Mankato Area Public Schools' administrative office Jan. 22, in Mankato, Minn. Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato, Minn. On a blustery day in January – Jan. 30 – LG Constructors, a subsidiary of CH2M HILL, was awarded for its efforts in St. Paul, Minn. It was the first MNSTAR recipient for new construction at a power generating plant. CBI Services, a subsidiary of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), was awarded its MNSTAR status Feb. 21, during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minn. All three companies were recognized as worksites where managers and employees work together to develop safety and health management systems that go beyond basic compliance with all applicable OSHA standards and result in immediate and long-term prevention of job-related injuries and illnesses. More information about the MNSTAR program and the companies that have earned the award is available online at or by calling (651) 284-5060.

LG Constructors, a CH2M Hill subsidiary, St. Paul, Minn.

CBI Services, a subsidiary of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, Rosemount, Minn.

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Refresher: New crane-operator-regulations overview
By Tyrone Taylor, Construction Supervisor

New Minnesota law requiring the certification and regulation of crane operators takes effect July 1. At that time, no individual may operate a crane, with the lifting capacity of five tons or more, on a construction site unless that person has a valid crane-operator certificate. The certificate must be issued by a nationally recognized and accredited certification program. The new regulation applies to all wire rope-over-sheave mobile cranes and mobile tower cranes. The standard does not apply to track and automotive jacks, railway or automobile wrecking cranes, shipboard cranes, shipboard cargo handling equipment, well drilling derricks, skip hoists, mine hoists, truck body hoists, car or barge pullers, conveyors or excavating equipment when not used as a lifting crane. Operators of cranes shall provide proof of certification upon request by an investigator. Individual certification may be received from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) or another certifying entity that has been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The regulation requires operators to renew their certification every five years. The regulation will not apply to: • a crane operator trainee or apprentice under the direct supervision of the holder of a valid crane operator certificate; • workers directly employed by class 1or 2 railroads, who have been qualified by the employing railroad as a crane operator, while working on property owned, leased or controlled by the employing railroad; • workers employed by or performing work for a public utility, rural electric cooperative, municipality, telephone company or industrial manufacturing plant; • workers subject to inspection and regulation under the Mine Safety and Health Act; • workers engaged in boating, fishing, agriculture or arboriculture; • workers who are members of or performing work for a uniform service or the United States Merchant Marines; • people operating cranes for personal use on property owned or leased by that person; and • people operating cranes in emergency situations. Companies are urged to start the certification process early to avoid any major push when the July 1 deadline draws near. Currently, there are 12 other states that have certification or licensing requirements.

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