|February 02, 2016 · Volume 15, Issue 3||
OSHA reminds employers of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2015. The summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted each year between Feb. 1 and April 30.
Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements. As of Jan. 1, 2015, certain previously exempt industries are now covered. Lists of both exempt and newly covered industries are available on OSHA's website. Visit OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule webpage for more information on recordkeeping requirements.
As part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on the safe handling of highly hazardous chemicals, the agency inspected the anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system of a seafood distributor in Brownsville, Texas. Inspectors found that Rich Products Corp. had failed to comply with OSHA's order to make improvements to its process safety management system after a 2012 inspection found serious hazards. "Process safety management is necessary for preventing or minimizing the consequences of an unexpected release of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals in the workplace," said Travis Clark, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi. The company was cited for 14 violations in all with proposed penalties of $155,000 and was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Read the news release for more information.
An OSHA inspection of a nuts and bolts manufacturer in Berea, Ohio, found workers were exposed to hazards that could have resulted in amputations and other severe injuries. Telefast Industries Inc. was cited for eight safety violations including failure to: install guards on machinery to prevent workers from contacting operating parts; provide workers with head and face protection against arc flash; and conduct required crane inspections. Proposed fines totaled $121,000. For more information, read the news release.
Following a series of severe injuries at its Atlanta facility, a major producer of frozen pizza and other foods accepted responsibility for safety and health hazards found by OSHA inspectors and signed a pre-citation settlement agreement. OSHA issued 10 citations for hazards including failing to ensure that machines were properly guarded and that workers were using safety procedures to prevent unexpected machine start-up, and failing to implement safety procedures for ammonia refrigeration systems.
Schwan's Global Supply Inc. agreed to pay $100,000 in penalties and make improvements such as: ensuring that only trained employees perform service and maintenance on machines, hiring a health and safety consultant to check for equipment, fall and other hazards, providing employee training on emergency procedures, and holding quarterly compliance status meetings with OSHA officials. For more information, see the news brief.
A Framingham, Mass., contractor with a history of safety violations has again exposed its employees to potentially fatal fall hazards at one of its worksites. OSHA inspectors found employees of A S General Construction Inc. risked falls of more than 26 feet from an unguarded roof and an improperly constructed and erected ladder-jack scaffold. "Not only did A S General Construction not provide required fall protection, it did not train the employees to work safely on scaffolds and had the workers climbing damaged and improperly set up ladders," said Anthony Covello, OSHA's area director for Essex and Middlesex counties. "The result was that these workers were steps or seconds away from deadly or disabling falls." Several of the violations at the worksite are similar to those OSHA cited A S General Construction for between 2011 and 2015 at worksites in Dedham and Windham, New Hampshire. As a result, OSHA cited the company for 16 violations of workplace safety standards, with proposed penalties of $188,760. OSHA has also placed A S General Construction in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. For more information, see the news release.
The Washington Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued $1.3M in fines to Zodiac Cabin and Structures Support LLC in Newport after inspectors detected workplace safety and health violations following a July 2015 explosion that injured 17 workers. Inspectors determined that the explosion could have been prevented if the company had used required safety interlocks and safeguards to ensure that a curing oven was used safely. For more information, read the Washington DOSH news release.
Please visit the enforcement news releases page for more on OSHA enforcement activity.
Brindi Trailer Sales and Services Inc. of Meridale, New York, and its owner violated the anti-discrimination provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when it fired a driver who complained about defective equipment on his truck. In February 2012, the driver contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which inspected the truck and found 16 violations. The driver notified Brindi and was immediately fired. He then filed a whistleblower complaint. OSHA has since ordered Brindi to pay the driver $32,642.20 in lost wages, $10,000 in punitive damages and $3,060.02 in attorney's fees and and expunge his employment records. For more information, see the news release.
OSHA invites interested parties to attend a day-long roundtable discussion on the agency's draft updated Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. The meeting is set for Thursday, March 10, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C.
Those wishing to attend must register here by March 3. Attendees can choose from several levels of participation in the discussion, which will cover the guidelines in general plus key issues that were raised in public comments. The comment period closes Feb. 22, 2016. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA is accepting nominations for six positions on the 12-member National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health.
NACOSH was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to advise, consult with and make recommendations to the Secretaries of Labor and Health and Human Services on matters relating to the administration of the Act, including regulatory, research, compliance assistance and enforcement issues.
OSHA is seeking nominations for two public representatives and one representative from each of the following categories: management, labor, occupational safety, and occupational health. Members serve a two-year term and may be appointed to successive terms.
The Rocky Mountain Education Center will offer free training to help managers in the oil and gas industry educate and motivate a diverse workforce to follow health and safety requirements. Training will emphasize how to be safe without sacrificing work quality or production outcomes. Special emphasis will be placed on smaller employers and those with workers who use English as a second language. Training will be offered in Lakewood, Colo., March 14-16 and in Bismark, N.D., March 29-31. For more information and to register, visit the course website. The courses were made possible through funding from a Susan Harwood Training Grant.
OSHA is introducing more durable and secure completion cards for its Outreach Training Programs, including 10-hour and 30-hour voluntary safety classes for workers in construction, maritime, and general industry. The classes, which help workers learn how to identify and prevent workplace hazards, are not required by OSHA although some cities and employers do require workers to complete them. The classes are taught by independent consultants authorized by OSHA and trained through OSHA Training Institute Education Centers.
At the conclusion of each course, students receive completion cards, which are currently printed on paper. After February 29, completion cards will be made of a more durable card stock, like a credit card - with a QR code that will include the student name, trainer name, date of issue, and the OTI Education Center that produced the card. OTI Education Centers will charge $8 each for the new cards, compared to $5 for the current paper cards. The new cards will be issued for in-person training sessions only; students who complete online training will continue to receive paper cards at this time. Workers who already have 10-hour and 30-hour cards do not need to change over to a new card. For more information, visit OSHA's voluntary Outreach Training Programs webpage.
OSHA recently certified New Jersey's State Plan for protecting the safety and health of state and local government workers. The New Jersey Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health State Plan covers more than 530,000 state and local government workers. The New Jersey State Plan was initially approved in January of 2001 and certification became effective on Jan. 22, 2016. This certification, which was published in the Federal Register, attests to the fact that New Jersey now has in place all those structural components necessary for a State Plan covering state and local government workers. For more information, see the news release.
OSHA recently renewed a three-year alliance with The Toledo Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. The emphasis of the alliance will be on training electrical workers on job hazards related to wind tower safety, photo-voltaic cell installation, and maintenance safety. Representatives from each organization will meet at least twice annually to develop a plan of action, to determine working procedures, and to track and share information related to the achievement of the alliance goals. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA recently renewed its alliance with the Industrial Truck Association to reduce worker injuries and fatalities when using powered industrial trucks. During the five-year agreement, the alliance will focus on tip-over and struck-by hazards.
Through the alliance, participants will develop resources and provide training on recognizing and reducing workplace hazards related to the operation of powered industrial trucks. Additionally, the alliance will promote OSHA campaigns on preventing falls and heat illness, implement projects that protect temporary workers, and encourage a culture of safety, particularly to small businesses and workers with limited- and non-English speaking skills. For more information, see the news release.
Situations where employers share responsibility for workers – such as when a staffing agency provides labor to a manufacturer – are more common than ever, and the resulting employment relationships are increasingly complex. Employers wondering about their responsibilities in these fissured workplaces have a new guidance resource from the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor: Joint Employment Under the FLSA and MSPA. If you are wondering how this guidance may be useful in your employment situation, please see this recent DOL blog.
OSHA has a new webpage explaining employers' obligations to provide all workers with sanitary and immediately-available toilet facilities. OSHA's sanitation standards are intended to ensure that workers do not suffer adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not sanitary and/or are not available when needed. The webpage includes information on the minimum number of toilet facilities an employer must provide, in restrooms separate for each sex. The webpage also includes a link to OSHA's recent best practices publication, A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers.
OSHA has posted a new Hazard Alert on Working Safely with Scissor Lifts, which was developed after a student was killed while filming from a scissor lift in 2010. The alert describes and encourages the safe use of scissor lifts through three proactive focus areas—fall protection, stability, and positioning.
OSHA provides news and commentary on workplace safety and health from its senior leadership, staff and guest contributors on the DOL blog. See our latest posts:
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