You are on page 1of 12

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 ... hidden costs could
pain associated with the injury, maybe an operation or operations, affect the bottom line
hospitalization, rehabilitation and, perhaps, having to change of any company when
vocations are all real possibilities. During the initial few weeks,
friends and family members step forward to pick up the slack, a workplace accident
shoveling snow, mowing grass, making meals and more, but then injures or sickens an
what? employee.
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

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

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 • hiring costs • training costs
• equipment damage and down time • clean-up time • re-work
• production delays • rental costs • legal fees
• good will, reputation in the community • unhappy customers • increased insurance costs
• OSHA penalties • spoiled product, materials • 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.

Description Time/wage involved Dollar amount

Injured worker 7 hours @ $18 an hour $126
Crane operator and three workers 4 x one-half hour @ $18 an hour $36
Foreman 3 hours @ $20 an hour $60
Forty-five other site workers 1/4 hour @ $18 an hour x 45 $202
Insured worker returns at 60-percent efficiency for two weeks .4 x 80 hours @ $18 an hour $576
Inexperienced iron worker replaces injured worker at .25 x 16 hours @ $18 an hour $72
75-percent efficiency
Safety director conducts accident investigation 4 hours @ $75 an hour $300
Support staff, administrative time 4 hours @ $10 an hour $40
Total time 68 hours
Indirect cost of minor foot injury $1,412
To earn 4-percent profit margin, $35,300 of additional work is needed to break even.

True costs, continues ...

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 2

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 Dollar amount
Investigation hours in the field $479
Total cost of writing report(s) $4,124
Internal review $1,054
Legal review $2,100
Use of state resources $138
Administrative tracking $392
Communication/administration $414
Appeal process $236
Total $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 Mark Monson, The Travelers Companies, Inc., speaks about
residential fall protection at the MNOSHA Construction
Breakfast, March 20, in St. Paul, Minn.

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 3

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,

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 4

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

• 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 Number of grants Total project costs Employer match State match fund
Total 77 $2,145,740 $1,778,812 $366,928
Private sector 65 $1,923,542 $1,607,246 $316,296
Public sector 12 $222,198 $171,566 $50,632
Breakdown of public-sector grants
Schools 1 $3,720 $1,860 $1,860
Cities 9 $209,846 $165,390 $44,456
Counties 1 $4,260 $2,130 $2,130
State 1 $4,372 $2,186 $2,186
Equipment purchased
E-Z lift, overhead lift, electric bed, machine guard, hoist, personal protective equipment (PPE), high-
visibility 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. •

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

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 5

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

Standard Description Frequency

Minnesota Statutes 182.653 A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction 214
subd. 8 (AWAIR) Program
1910.151(c) Emergency eyewash/shower facilities 176
Minnesota Rules 5206.0700 Overall Employee Right-To-Know training program 171
subp. 1
MN Rules 5206.0700 subp. 1(B) Employee Right-To-Know written program 171
1910.212(a)(1) Machine guarding – general requirements 140
M.S. 182.653 subd. 2 General duty clause – unsafe working conditions 131
1910.242(b) Compressed air used for cleaning exceeds air 131
pressure limit
1910.147(c)(4)(i) Development and use of lockout/tagout procedures 126
MN Rules 5205.0116 subp. 1 Forklifts – employee exposure monitoring for carbon 115
1910.147(c)(6)(i) Periodic inspections of energy control procedures 112
MN Rules 5206.0700 subp. 1(G) Employee Right-To-Know training frequency 111
1926.501(b)(1) Fall protection in construction – general 105
1910.134(a)(2) Respiratory protection program 104
1926.451(g)(1) Fall protection on scaffolds above 10 feet 87
1910.178(l) Forklifts – operator training 84
1910.212(a)(3)(ii) Point of operation guarding of machines 83
1910.147(c)(7)(i) Energy control program training 79
1910.332(b)(1) Training in electrical safety-related work practices 77
1910.133(a)(1) Eye and face protection 76
1910.305(d) Electrical hazards involving switchboards and 74
1910.23(c)(1) Guardrails for open-sided floors 71

Most frequently cited, continues ...

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 6

Most frequently cited, continued ...

Standard Description Frequency

1910.132(d)(1) Personal protective equipment hazard assessment 67
and selection
1926.652(a)(1) Use of sloping or protective systems to prevent 63
excavation cave-ins
MN Rules 5205.1200 subp. 3 Frequent inspections of cranes and hoists with one- 63
ton capacity or less
1910.219(d)(1) and (e)(2) Machine guarding – belts and pulleys 63
1926.100(a) Head protection 51
MN Rules 5205.0890 Barrier guard on hydraulic presses to prevent 50
ejection of material

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:

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 7

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

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 8

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

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 ...

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 9

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.

Next installment:
Records access and information disclosure

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 10

MNSTAR status awarded to three outstanding worksites
Three outstanding Minnesota
worksites achieved Minnesota Star
(MNSTAR) status in January and

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
LG Constructors, a CH2M Hill subsidiary, St. Paul, Minn. 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
CBI Services, a subsidiary of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, or by calling (651) 284-5060.
Rosemount, Minn.

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 11

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
• 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.

Safety Lines, Spring 2007 page 12