|February 1, 2012 · Volume 11, Issue 3|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
According to a new study by the RAND Corporation, a longstanding injury and illness prevention program in California succeeds in protecting workers when coupled with effective enforcement practices.
The first-ever evaluation of the California Injury and Illness Prevention Program identified specific components of the California program, such as training and accident investigation, that are effective in preventing injuries. In addition, the report found that the approach used in California can significantly reduce workplace injuries, but only if it is adequately enforced.
John Mendeloff, lead author of the study and a senior public policy researcher for RAND, suggested that safety and health impacts for workers are greater when employers treat illness and injury prevention as more that just a paper program. According to Mendeloff, the positive impacts are more pronounced when inspectors go beyond a simple review of employers' written documents.
OSHA recently published a new Injury and Illness Prevention Programs White Paper and is very much focused on learning from California's experience, as well as those of the many other states that require or encourage Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. Read more on OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Web page.
Beginning Feb. 1, employers who are required to keep the OSHA Form 300 Injury and Illness log must post a summary of the log. Employers must post OSHA's Form 300A from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2012 in a common area wherever notices to workers are usually posted.
The summary must list the total numbers of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2011. All establishment summaries must be certified by a company executive.
Copies of the OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are available for download on the OSHA Recordkeeping Web page. See OSHA's Recordkeeping Handbook for more information on posting requirements for OSHA's Form 300A.
OSHA has posted a series of 17 videos to help workers learn about the proper use of respirators on the job. These short videos, nine in English and eight in Spanish, provide valuable information to workers in general industry and construction. Topics include OSHA's Respiratory Standard, respirator use, training, fit-testing and detecting counterfeit respirators. The clips are available with closed captioning for streaming or download from OSHA's Web site.
OSHA's Safety and Health topics page on Respiratory Protection also includes additional training materials, information about occupational respiratory hazards in different industries, and details of OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134 and 29 CFR 1926.103).
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris reached a settlement with the manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout hair straightening products that will require the company to warn California consumers and hair stylists that two of its most popular hair smoothing products emit formaldehyde gas. The Jan. 30 settlement requires GIB LLC, which does business under the name Brazilian Blowout, to cease deceptive advertising that describes two of its popular products, "Brazilian Blowout Acai Smoothing Solution" and "Brazilian Blowout Professional Smoothing Solution," as formaldehyde-free and safe. A complaint filed by the Attorney General's office alleged that because the manufacturer did not inform customers or workers that formaldehyde gas was being released during a Brazilian Blowout treatment, product users did not take steps to reduce their exposure, such as increasing ventilation. As a result of the settlement agreement, the company must also make significant changes to its Web site and pay $600,000 in fees, penalties and costs. See the news release for more information.
OSHA's Hair Salons Web page provides information about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with certain hair smoothing and straightening products, including a hazard alert to hair salon owners and workers.
OSHA ordered AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of Dallas, Texas-based Southwest Airlines Co., to reinstate a former pilot who was fired after reporting numerous mechanical concerns. The agency also ordered that the pilot be paid more than $1 million in back wages plus interest and compensatory damages. An investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program found reasonable cause to believe that the termination was an act of retaliation in violation of the whistleblower provision of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, known as AIR21.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provision of AIR21, as well as 20 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities, trucking, workplace health and safety, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, rail, maritime, health care, consumer product and food safety laws. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program. See the news release for more information.
The Department of Labor's regional solicitor's office in Boston filed a complaint against DeMoulas Super Markets Inc., doing business as Market Basket, with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). The complaint asks the commission to order the Tewksbury, Mass.-based chain to comply with OSHA's safety standards designed to protect employees from fall and laceration hazards at the employer's more than 60 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This request for enterprise-wide relief is based upon hazards OSHA found during inspections of various DeMoulas stores, including the agency's most recent inspections at Market Basket stores in Rindge and Concord, N.H. Those inspections resulted in citations and proposed OSHA fines totaling $589,200, which DeMoulas contested to OSHRC. See the news release for more information.
A grand jury convened in Coos County, N.H., has indicted Craig Sanborn, owner of gunpowder manufacturer Black Mag LLC, for manslaughter and negligent homicide as a result of a deadly 2010 explosion that took the lives of two workers at the company's Colebrook, N.H., worksite. The workers, Jesse Kennett and Donald Kendall, who had been on the job for only a month, were being required to hand feed explosive powder into operating equipment because the employer failed to implement essential protective controls. The multiple explosions that occurred when the powder detonated killed both men and blew out the walls and roof of the worksite. Four months earlier another worker had suffered serious burns from a flash fire at the facility.
OSHA issued 54 citations to Black Mag with penalties totaling $1,232,500 following an investigation that found the employer had shown willful indifference to protecting the safety and lives of his workers by failing to provide training, locate operators at safe locations while equipment was operating and separate workstations by distance or barriers. The employer also failed to provide fire resistant clothing, face shields and gloves; to safely store gun powder; and to identify explosion hazards in the company's operating procedures. See the October 2010 news release for more examples of Black Mag's numerous safety and health violations.
The California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued $256,445 in citations to two companies in Chino, Cal., for violations discovered during warehouse inspections that found unsafe working conditions. Cal/OSHA issued citations to warehouse owner National Distribution Centers and its temporary staffing contractor, Tri State Staffing, for more than 60 violations at four warehouses. The violations include lack of fall protection for high-rise pickers, unstable storage stacking and unguarded machinery.
Cal/OSHA found a dual-employer relationship at three of the four warehouses inspected. In this situation, both employers are potentially liable for violations of safety and health regulations that are meant to prevent workers' injuries or illnesses.
The warehouse inspections were prompted by complaints received from Warehouse Workers United and a worker's heat illness injury in August 2011. The employer failed to recognize the symptoms as heat-related or address conditions that led to the worker's illness. See the news release for more information.
OSHA fined Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. $318,000 and cited the company for 11 safety violations after a worker's arm was amputated below the shoulder. OSHA initiated an inspection after a July 2011 incident, in which the employee's arm became caught in an energized machine while the employee was conducting cleaning activities alone in a confined space. Afterward, the employee had to walk down a flight of 25 stairs and 200 feet across the production floor to get the attention of a co-worker for assistance. In many instances, employees who work in confined spaces risk exposure to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment and hazardous atmospheric conditions. See the news release for more information.
OSHA cited Growmark, which operates Frontier FS, a grain handling facility in Ixonia, with five safety violations, including one willful violation for failing to de-energize and lock out sweep augers before workers entered grain bins. OSHA initiated an investigation in August under its local emphasis program for grain handling facilities. Proposed fines total $84,000.
In addition to the willful violation, two serious violations involve failing to provide body harnesses or alternative protection as well as rescue equipment for work inside grain bins where engulfment hazards are present. See the news release for more information.
In a recent victory for excavation workers who regularly face dangerous trenching conditions, an administrative law judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has found that Newport, Del.-based Daisy Construction willfully violated OSHA's trenching standards.
Judge Dennis L. Phillips ordered the company to pay $59,000 in penalties, resolving litigation that followed citations issued by OSHA based on a 2010 investigation. Two willful violations were issued for failing to provide workers working in a trench with an adequate protection system to prevent cave-ins and protect employees by removing them from the unprotected trench. One serious violation was issued for failing to instruct workers on how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions. The company contested the citations, and the case was litigated before the commission. See the news release for more information.
Detailed information on excavation hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA's Trenching and Excavation Web page.
OSHA will hold a meeting of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) February 22-23 in Washington, D.C. Work groups will meet February 22 and the full committee will meet February 23. The MACOSH agenda will include discussions on working safely around radiation; person in water (man overboard); confined space ventilation; safe entry and cleaning practices for vessel sewage tanks; best practices for eye injury reduction; hot work on hollow structures; injury and illness prevention programs; container handling equipment; semi-tractor tip-over; top/side handler operation safety; staying focused on safety while working on or around cargo handling equipment; safety zones between railcars and cargo handling equipment; and preventing chassis drivers from jostling in the cabs. The formal announcement of the meeting will appear in a Feb. 3 Federal Register notice, which will include information on submitting comments and requests to speak.
OSHA has renewed its Alliance with the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) to continue working together to protect workers from serious job hazards during equipment operation, trenching and excavation, and hydrostatic testing. During the two-year agreement, renewed Jan. 30, the Alliance will share information on occupational safety and health standards, and workers' rights and employer responsibilities through forums, exhibits and stakeholder meetings. The Alliance will also focus on issues related to small businesses, distracted driving, and non-English and limited-English-speaking workers. See the news release for more information.
Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. These groups include unions, consulates, trade or professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions. OSHA and the groups work together to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, share information with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.
OSHA published a new educational publication for construction workers, Protecting Yourself from Noise in Construction. The booklet, written for workers and employers, provides information on the hazards of loud noise in construction, how noise levels are measured, and how to find out if noise on the job site or from tools is loud enough to cause hearing loss. It also gives examples of administrative and engineering controls employers can use to reduce worker exposure to noise, as well as information on the proper selection and use of personal hearing protection. To order copies of this or other OSHA publications please call 1-800-321-OSHA or 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA's Publications Web page.
Three recent Fact Sheets published by OSHA address fall prevention during roofing operations in residential construction. These and other Fact Sheets can be downloaded from OSHA's Publications Web page:
A new OSHA Fact Sheet provides information on whistleblower protection for workers who report alleged mail, wire, bank, or securities fraud. The Filing Whistleblower Complaints under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act* Fact Sheet is available on OSHA's Publications Web page.
See DOL's weekly electronic newsletter for more DOL news.
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