Dollar General, mask guidance and chemical management

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What’s going on in EHS this week? Find out with Safety at the Frontline! 

Tune in on Mondays to get the latest safety news with Frontline’s podcast. We’re covering the top EHS news, along with some quick and useful tips, so you can stay safe and keep rocking on the frontlines. 

Dollar General penalties 

We’re going into this week with some unprosperous news. Since 2016, OSHA proposed Dollar General more than $3.6 million in penalties in 55 inspections, with a million of this arising from recent investigations. These inspections continuously reveal employee exposure to hazards like obstructed exit routes, unstable stacking, and blocked working space around electrical panels. 

Unfortunately, Dollar General has a long and extensive history of workplace safety violations and repeated failures to protect employees, so we hope the OSHA measures construct accountability for any disregard toward workplace safety. 

CDC relaxes mask guidance 

The next news is one that affects almost all employers. The CDC recently announced that it is relaxing its mask guidance. These guidelines haven’t been mandatory but are basically like best practices and recommendations. 

This new guidance is more focused on areas that are at risk of hospital strain. So, communities where serious cases of COVID-19 are straining the health system, are recommended to continue mask use. OSHA’s current COVID guidance references the prior CDC recommendations, so more than likely they will conform to the new ones. 

BUT it is important to point out that state and local jurisdictions may still impose restrictions beyond what the CDC recommends, so make sure to check those mandates before taking any advised action. 

Chemical management in numbers 

In the previous weeks, we covered some stats on crisis management. This week we’re bringing in data from a recent report on chemical management. We feel like it’s an important topic to talk about because HazCom is the second most cited OSHA standard with over 3M in penalties just in 2021 alone, so it definitely comes with great challenges and responsibilities. 

In the report, safety professionals were asked what those challenges were, and the biggest ones were chemical inventory, keeping an accurate chemical and SDS database, and understanding the regulations they must comply with along with having the time to do it all. 

Our biggest takeaway was that over one-third of the surveyed safety professionals stated chemical management and improving hazard communication among their top three priorities in the workplace, so hopefully, we’ll see those improvements. In the meantime, stay safe and stay tuned for next week!