|March 3, 2010 · Volume 9, Issue 5|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In This Issue
Follow the day-long "OSHA Listens" public meeting on the
OSHA proposed more than $137,000 in fines against Endres Processing LLC for alleged fire and explosion hazards from combustible dust. The company recycles inedible food products by milling them into feed for pigs and chickens. Citations identified an air material separator with no explosion venting; a poor facility housekeeping program; and combustible dust collected at a dangerous level. "There is no excuse for the lack of attention to accumulation of combustible dusts in any mill or grain elevator, especially given our nation's history of such horrific combustible dust explosions resulting in a high number of worker fatalities," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all their workers." Read the news release for more information.
Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions. OSHA is reminding workers and employers about the hazards of combustible dust and ways to avoid those hazards. OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Web page on combustible dust discusses what current standards apply to help eliminate worker exposure and identifies other agency resources, such as Hazard Communication Guidance for Combustible Dusts* and Hazard Alert: Combustible Dust Explosions fact sheet*, on identifying and controlling the potential for explosions. OSHA is considering rulemaking to develop a combustible dust standard. On Feb. 17, stakeholders participated in an informal meeting meant to seek information for the development of a protective and suitable standard. Comments from a similar meeting held in December 2009 are available on OSHA's Web site.
The owner of Buzzell Tree Service of East Kingston, N.H., was found guilty, by a jury, of criminally negligent homicide for causing a 22-year-old worker's death. The employer could face between three and seven years in prison. It is the first time in New Hampshire history that a jury found an employer guilty of criminally negligent homicide as a result of a death that did not involve a motor vehicle. The employer paid $12,000 in fines as part of a settlement agreement with OSHA for violating safety standards resulting in the worker's death.
OSHA has notified approximately 15,000 employers that injury and illness rates at their worksites are considerably higher than the national average. In a letter sent to those employers, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels explained that the notification is an active step to encourage employers to act now to improve safety and health conditions in their workplaces. To view letter and list of worksites, visit OSHA's Freedom of Information Act Web page.
OSHA will host a "Green Jobs" forum to help workers and small business employers understand the hazards posed by green jobs in construction, energy, and waste management and recycling. The event, scheduled for April 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST at the Labor Department in Washington, D.C., is part of a series that fosters collaboration between the small business community and federal government on safety and health management issues. "Employers who race into this green economy without paying attention to worker safety will blunder into preventable injuries and deaths," said Assistant Secretary Michaels in his remarks at a NIOSH conference on developing ways to integrate worker safety and health principles into the emerging "green jobs" industries. To register, contact Mandi Garner at 202-693-2234. Visit OSHA's Web site for more information on how OSHA assists small business employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.
Helping prevent worker injury and death is the focus of an "OSHA Safety Day" training conference March 17 at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Ill. The event is co-sponsored by OSHA's North Aurora, Ill., Area Office and the college. More than 400 workers and managers from manufacturing, healthcare, printing and trucking industries are expected to participate in training sessions targeting machine safeguarding, electrical safety, fall protection, lockout/tagout and other safe work practices to protect workers. Visit the conference Web page for more information and to register.
Preventing worker injury and death and eliminating workplace fire and explosion hazards associated with the release of highly hazardous chemicals is the goal of a March 26 OSHA forum in Cleveland. Breakout sessions will address regulations and practical approaches to preventing incidents involving the release of hazardous chemicals. The event, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Environmental and Maintenance Service Center, is being co-presented by OSHA and the Cuyahoga County Local Emergency Planning Committee. Read the seminar brochure* for more details and registration information.
OSHA updated the Screening and Surveillance: A Guide to OSHA Standards* pocket guide that provides occupational health professionals with an overview of OSHA requirements on medical screening and surveillance. It describes what physical examinations and tests, such as chest x-rays, lung function tests and blood tests, are required to measure worker exposure to chemicals such as hexavalent chromium and benzene, and other workplace hazards such as noise and bloodborne pathogens. This quick-reference tool also points to the appropriate standards for more specifics. Copies can be ordered online from OSHA's publications Web page.
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Editor: Elaine Fraser, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999
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