|February 3, 2014 · Volume 13, Issue 3|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
QuickTakes Subscribers: In case you missed our January 16 issue, find it here online.
OSHA is extending the public comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica for an additional 15 days to Feb. 11, 2014. In response to concerns raised about possible public confusion due to an error on www.regulations.gov, the federal government's online portal for submitting rulemaking comments, the deadline has been extended from Jan. 27 to Feb. 11 to allow stakeholders additional time to comment on the proposed rule.
To submit comments using www.regulations.gov, stakeholders may click on the "COMMENT NOW!" box next to the title "Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica; Extension of Comment Period” and follow the instructions on-line for making electronic submissions. Public hearings on the proposed rule are scheduled to begin March 18, 2014. Information on the proposed rule is available at www.osha.gov/silica.
OSHA is reminding covered employers to post OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2013 and were logged on OSHA's Form 300, the log of work-related injuries and illnesses. The summary must be posted between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2014, and should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in certain industries are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, insurance and real estate sectors can be found at http://s.dol.gov/YP. Visit OSHA's Recordkeeping Web page for more information on recordkeeping requirements.
OSHA has cited Dukane Precast Inc., a precast concrete products manufacturer, for eight safety violations after a 39-year-old Hispanic temporary worker was fatally crushed at the company's Aurora plant while working alone on July 20, 2013. The worker had entered a concrete mixer's discharge mud hopper to free a gate stuck in the open position. The gate, which had not been locked out to prevent unintentional operation during maintenance activity, closed and crushed the worker. Proposed fines total $303,900.
"It is unacceptable that Dukane Precast would allow a worker to enter a permit-required confined space to perform maintenance without ensuring that the space was isolated from hazards by following OSHA standards," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in North Aurora. "Employers have a responsibility to protect all workers from known hazards at their facilities."
Included in the citations to the employer are four willful citations for failing to protect workers from confined space hazards, failing to inform workers about confined spaces, failing to establish lockout/tagout procedures for maintenance workers, and failing to lock and tag out hazardous equipment. Due to the willful violations, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. For more information on the citations issued, read the press release.
Radcliff Wire Inc. has been cited by OSHA for serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards after an inspection of the Bristol, Conn., wire products manufacturer on July 23, 2013. The inspection, conducted under OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, found hazards that could expose workers to electric shock, arc flashes, fire, eye and crushing injuries. Proposed penalties total $109,340.
"The sizable fines proposed here reflect the breadth and gravity of these hazards and the fact that this employer has been cited previously for several of these conditions," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "It's imperative that employers not just correct hazards, but effectively prevent their recurrence."
Repeat violations include failing to train maintenance workers on the use of personal protective equipment to protect against electric shock, arc flashes or arc blasts and failing to train workers annually on the use of fire extinguishers. Additional serious violations include failing to lock out live electrical equipment during electrical work and failing to properly store flammable chemicals. Read the news release for additional information and complete citations.
OSHA has cited HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. of Thomson, Ga. and staffing agency Sizemore Inc. for 22 safety and health violations. OSHA initiated its inspection in July 2013 in response to a complaint alleging hazards at the automotive manufacturing facility. Proposed penalties total $207,100.
"HP Pelzer continues to put workers at risk of serious injury or death by failing to correct unguarded equipment and other serious hazards," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Additionally, Sizemore must work proactively with its client to ensure temporary workers receive appropriate safety and health training."
OSHA cited HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. for 11 violations, including failing to prevent compressed air from being used for cleaning without a means to regulate the pressure and for exposing workers to potential thermal skin burns from unprotected hot pipes and fittings. The Thomson facility employs 256 workers—176 of which are temporary. Sizemore is the temporary staffing agency under contract with HP Pelzer. The contract with Sizemore specifies that the staffing agency will provide workers with some of the training before their assignment. The staffing agency was also issued a citation for not providing temporary workers with training regarding formaldehyde and its hazards. For more information, read the press release.
In a letter to Illinois Farm Bureau members, Richard Guebert, the organization’s president, recounts the tragic death of his cousin, who died while cleaning out a grain bin. Guebert explains that suffocation is a leading cause of death in grain storage bins, and reminds members to take the proper steps to ensure safety when entering grain bins.
OSHA has developed a number of educational resources to provide workers, employers, and safety and health professionals with useful, up-to-date safety and health information on grain handling facilities. To learn more about hazards and safety measures, visit OSHA's grain handling Web page.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has released a new Prevention through Design paper on Preventing Falls through the Design of Roof Parapets (PDF*). The paper details the fall hazards to workers during the design stages of building construction. NIOSH recommends that parapets, or wall extensions, which act as barriers at a roof's edge, be used to reduce the risk of falls during the preliminary stages of construction work. The institute also recommends that parapets meet the OSHA height requirements for guardrails and reminds employers to consider the cost-savings advantage of constructing parapets for the design phase.
NIOSH's Prevention through Design initiative promotes the concept of "designing out" or addressing and minimizing occupational hazards and risks early in the design process. An increasing number of businesses recognize the importance of adopting PtD as a cost-effective means to enhance the safety and health of their employees.
On Jan. 15, OSHA area offices and the El Salvadorian Consulates of New York, New Jersey and Long Island signed alliances in Brentwood, N.Y. on a new joint commitment to protect the rights of Salvadorians working in the U.S.
The alliance signings establish a collaborative relationship to provide workers with training and education in areas such as workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, filing a complaint and the hazards of falls, electrical work, chemicals, noise and silica. Additionally, the alliances outline an initiative to improve outreach and communication between OSHA area offices and El Salvadorian consulates through print and electronic media. The participants intend to promote a national dialogue on workplace safety and health as it relates to El Salvadorian nationals living in the United States.
OSHA has established an alliance with the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association to develop training and education programs for roofing contractors related to hazards in construction, best practices, regulatory updates and national campaigns and promote workers' rights. See the news release for additional details
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.
Quality Associates Inc., a consumer product packaging company, contacted the North Carolina Department of Labor in 2008 for help reducing injuries and illnesses. The company recognized the need to protect its workers and asked OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program for help developing a strong safety and health management system. With a proactive approach to worker safety, Quality Associates reduced its workplace injury and illness rates by 80 percent over five years, resulting in a 22 percent reduction in its workers’ compensation premium. In 2010, OSHA accepted the company into its Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program for developing a safety and health system that provides outstanding protection for its workers, and this SHARP approval was renewed in 2012. For more information, see the story on Quality Associates' success.
On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. To request a free consultation, visit OSHA's On-Site Consultation page or call 800-321-OSHA (6742) to find an office in your area.
OSHA and Waubonsee Community College will be co-sponsoring an OSHA Safety Day training conference March 19 in Sugar Grove, Ill. An estimated 300 employees and managers are expected to attend the event, representing a broad range of industries in Illinois, including manufacturing, hospitals, retailers and universities. Eight tracks covering safety issues for transportation, machine safeguarding, safety programs, electrical and environmental will be offered. This year's conference also features a track dedicated to occupational safety and health issues in the green industry
The program will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Waubonsee Community College's Sugar Grove Campus. Advance registration is required and space is limited. Please register online or contact Elizabeth Hurley at (630) 906-4152 or email@example.com for more information.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels has appointed Dorothy Dougherty as the new deputy assistant secretary for OSHA. Dougherty brings more than 32 years of federal experience to this position, having served for 22 years in OSHA and several years in the Mine Safety and Health Administration as an industrial hygienist and coal mine inspector.
Prior to becoming OSHA's deputy assistant secretary, Dougherty served as the director of the agency's Directorate of Standards and Guidance. Dougherty first joined OSHA as chief of the Compliance and Technical Guidance Division for the Office of Federal Agency Programs. She also served the agency in other capacities, including deputy director of technical support and executive assistant for the OSHA assistant secretary. A graduate of Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health, she also holds a Master of Science degree in Safety from Marshall University. See the news release for more information.
OSHA has released a new Fatal Fact resource on "Falls from Telecommunications Towers" (PDF*), illustrating how failure to plan, provide the right equipment, and train workers effectively can lead to worker deaths.
A Fact Sheet for asbestos hazards (PDF*) has been updated with revised information for employers and workers describing the hazards of asbestos on the job, protections that exist in OSHA standards and workers' rights. Additional Fatal Facts can be found at www.osha.gov/Publications/fatalfacts.html.
OSHA is gathering stakeholder input on the heat illness prevention campaign with a brief survey to evaluate the usefulness of the heat illness prevention campaign website and to identify possible modifications for next year. The survey does not collect any personal information from visitors – only opinions and evaluations of the heat illness prevention campaign. It can be accessed from the heat campaign homepage (by clicking "Tell us what you think") or by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/2013HeatWebpageSurvey.
See DOL's weekly electronic newsletter for more DOL news.
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