US Dept of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health AdministrationWe Can Help

March 4, 2014 · Volume 13, Issue 5
Osha QuickTakes
A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.
 
Follow us on
   Twitter   Facebook   YouTube   
#CellTowerWorkers
#ColdStress
#StopFalls
 

In this issue

Assistant Secretary Michaels urges action to protect communication tower workers

GEO Group settlement aims to protect correctional workers from violence on the job

Former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Joseph Dear dies of cancer at 62

OSHA announces interim final rule, requests comments on handling retaliation complaints under Food Safety Modernization Act

Houston manufacturer cited for eight willful egregious violations after worker severely injured on unguarded machine

Combustible dust, amputation and other hazards at lumber manufacturer in Homerville, Ga. cited by OSHA

Shippensburg, Pa. foundry cited for repeat safety violations; fines total $163,240

OSHA issues 2014 inspection plan to reduce injuries and illnesses at high-hazard workplaces

Open for comment: Proposed rules on crystalline silica, workplace injury and illness tracking, and request for information on process safety management

Chemical safety public listening sessions continue to encourage input from stakeholders

Employers reminded to post OSHA 300A injury/illness summaries through April 30

Peoria office co-sponsors Illinois workplace safety and health conference on March 5

OSHA teams with local Wisconsin organizations to hold fall protection classes in Spanish

Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee to meet March 10-11

New educational resources: Safe patient handling in nursing homes and anti-retaliation rights under the Food Safety Modernization Act

OSHA and NOAA partner for National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

Help OSHA evaluate its heat illness prevention campaign

Follow us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook

Job openings

   

Assistant Secretary Michaels urges action to protect communication tower workers

Communication tower graphic

More communication tower workers were killed in 2013 than in the previous two years combined, and four more tower-related deaths have already occurred in 2014. Every one of those deaths was preventable. This disturbing trend appears to be continuing, and actions must be taken to prevent more deaths.

"We are very concerned about this sharp rise," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels in a Feb. 25 message delivered to the National Association of Tower Erectors. "The fatality rate in this industry is extraordinarily high—tower workers are perhaps 25 times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker."

OSHA is using all of its available tools to improve the safety of telecommunications workers, including reaching out to educate industry and workers, providing free small business consultations, and increasing enforcement in this industry.

For more information, see the press release, read the new blog post, view a recording of Dr. Michaels’ address, or read his full remarks.

return to top of page


GEO Group settlement aims to protect correctional workers from violence on the job

The GEO Group Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla., has entered into a corporate-wide settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that requires the company to implement comprehensive procedures and policies to better safeguard its workers against the hazards of workplace violence in every correctional and adult detention facility that it manages in the nation.

"This corporate-wide settlement agreement will have a far-reaching effect and impact on correctional officers and other staff nationwide," said Teresa A. Harrison, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Atlanta. "This agreement is the first of its kind in the corrections industry that addresses the hazards associated with workplace violence."

In June 2012, OSHA cited the GEO Group for workplace safety violations at a prison facility it managed in Meridian, Miss. For more information on the settlement, see the news release. To learn more about workplace violence prevention, visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page on workplace violence.

return to top of page


Former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Joseph Dear dies of cancer at 62

Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels released the following statement on the passing of Joseph Dear:

Joe Dear

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Assistant Secretary Joe Dear. While he served in many roles throughout his life, Joe was always a tireless advocate for worker safety and health. During his time as the ninth Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Joe made a series of lasting impacts that we are still benefitting from to this very day. He was a bold and forward-thinking leader who embraced innovation, bringing technological advancements to the agency that have revolutionized the way we do our work. He strove to hold employers accountable by increasing penalties for willful violations and finalized some of our most important worker protection standards for electrical power generation, construction and shipyard safety, hazard communication, and personal protective equipment. While the world of occupational safety and health has lost a great defender, his legacy will live on for the many years to come. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones."

Dear’s family has established a memorial scholarship in his name at The Evergreen State College, his alma mater.

return to top of page


OSHA announces interim final rule, invites comments on procedures for handling retaliation complaints under Food Safety Modernization Act

OSHA recently published an interim final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling retaliation complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act. FSMA, signed into law January 2011, provides employees who disclose information about a possible violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with protection against retaliation from businesses engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding or importation of food. This interim final rule establishes procedures, burdens of proof, remedies and statutes of limitations similar to other whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA administers.

Individuals may submit comments by April 14, 2014. See the news release for details. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and 21 other statutes. Additional information is available at www.whistleblowers.gov.

return to top of page


Houston manufacturer cited for eight willful egregious violations after worker severely injured on unguarded machine

Following an incident where a machine operator’s arms were crushed, OSHA has cited Custom Rubber Products LLC with eight willful egregious violations. Proposed penalties for the Houston facility total $560,000.

“Moving machine parts can crush workers or amputate fingers or limbs in an instant,” said Eric Harbin, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Dallas. “Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Employers must ensure that guards are functioning on machines that can cause these injuries, and there is no excuse for failing to provide them.”

Prompted by a complaint, OSHA’s inspection found that the company created a dangerous work environment by failing to protect machine operators and other workers in the machine area from hazards created by rotating parts. During the inspection, OSHA became aware of two other incidents that had previously occurred at the facility involving employees being severely injured while operating similar machinery. See the news release for more information.

return to top of page


Combustible dust, amputation and other hazards at lumber manufacturer in Homerville, Ga. cited by OSHA

OSHA has cited forest products manufacturer Dupont Yard Inc. for 22 safety and health violations following a complaint about hazardous working conditions at the company's Homerville, Ga., facility. Proposed penalties total $279,400. In four previous inspections over the past six years, Dupont Yard has been cited with 39 violations.

"Since 2007, this employer has known about the dangers of a lack of machine guarding and exposure to electric shock, but repeatedly puts workers at risk of serious injury or death," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah. "Earning a paycheck should not involve being in an unsafe work environment."

OSHA cited the company for willfully failing to implement basic lockout-tagout procedures to prevent amputations and other serious injuries during maintenance. Other willful citations include exposing workers to electrical hazards and to unguarded rotating chains and sprocket wheels. The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Read the news release for more information on the citations issued by OSHA.

return to top of page


Shippensburg, Pa. foundry cited for repeat safety violations; fines total $163,240

Domestic Casting Co. LLC has been cited by OSHA for 26 alleged safety violations found at its Shippensburg, Pa. foundry. OSHA initiated an inspection in August 2013 in response to a complaint. The company faces $163,240 in proposed penalties.

"Compromising worker safety will not be tolerated. Domestic Casting continues to put its workers at risk of serious injury or possible death by not addressing and correcting these hazards," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office. "Employers that fail to uphold their responsibility to protect workers and provide a safe and healthful workplace will be held accountable."

Repeat violations by the employer include failing to guard open-sided floors and platforms, failing to enclose sprocket wheels and chains, and exposing workers to electrical hazards. The company was cited for similar violations in 2011 and 2013. In addition, serious citations were issued for exposing workers to struck-by, fall, amputation, electrical, tripping and other hazards. For more details and to read the citations, view the press release.

return to top of page


OSHA issues 2014 inspection plan to reduce injuries and illnesses at high-hazard workplaces

OSHA has issued its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting 2014 program. The plan directs enforcement resources to workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. The SST plan is based on data collected from a survey of 80,000 establishments in high-hazard industries.

The SST program is one of OSHA’s main programmed inspection plans for high-hazard, non-construction workplaces with 20 or more workers. OSHA also implements 13 National Emphasis Programs and approximately 140 Regional and Local Emphasis Programs that intensify inspections of hazards or industries such as lead, silica, shipbreaking, trenching/excavations and process safety management. See the news release for more information.

return to top of page


Open for comment: Proposed rules on crystalline silica, workplace injury and illness tracking, and request for information on process safety management

Public hearings on OSHA’s proposed silica rule are scheduled to begin March 18, 2014, at the Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. The deadline for requests to participate was Dec. 12, 2013. However, members of the public are welcome to attend and listen to testimony from OSHA, its expert witnesses and other interested parties. Those members of the public who filed a timely written notice of intention to appear can also ask questions of agency officials and other witnesses during the hearing. For additional information on the proposed rule, visit www.osha.gov/silica.

In addition, the comment period on OSHA’s proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of occupational injuries and illness will be closing March 10, 2014. The proposed rule would amend OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep. It was originally scheduled to close March 8. However, this date falls on a Saturday. The agency will accept comments submitted March 10 as timely. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for more details.

Finally, OSHA is extending the public comment period on the request for information on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and related standards for an additional 21 days to March 31, 2014. In response to requests for an extension, the deadline to submit written comments is being extended to allow stakeholders additional time to comment on the proposed rule and supporting analyses. The RFI is in response to Executive Order 13650 (PDF*), which seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security, issued in the wake of the April 2013 West, Texas, tragedy that killed 15 in an ammonium nitrate explosion. See the news release for details on submitting comments.

return to top of page


Chemical safety public listening sessions continue to encourage input from stakeholders

OSHA recently co-chaired several listening sessions regarding Executive Order 13650 on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab chaired a session in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Feb. 19 along with Area Director Dorina Folse. On Feb. 27, New York Area Director Bob Kulick and Director of OSHA’s Office of Engineering Safety Lisa Long attended another listening session in Newark, NJ, marking the 14th session of the series. Frequent topics have included safer processes, worker/union participation and improved emergency response.

Signed on August 1, 2013 by President Obama, Executive Order 13650 is a multi-agency initiative to improve chemical safety and storage across the country. The Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies have joined forces to improve agency coordination, modernize policies and standards and identify best practices. The series of public listening sessions encourage input from stakeholders to reduce safety and security risks in the production and storage of potentially harmful chemicals. For more information on the executive order and upcoming opportunities to participate, visit the OSHA website.

return to top of page


Employers reminded to post OSHA 300A injury/illness summaries through April 30

OSHA's Form 300A

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, 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.

return to top of page


Peoria office co-sponsors Illinois workplace safety and health conference on March 5

DIOSH Day

Construction safety, combustible dust, fall protection, crane safety, organizational change management and developing a safety culture will be featured topics at the workshops and breakout sessions at the Downstate Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Day, Wednesday, March 5, in the Peoria, Ill., civic center. “The conference will offer safety professionals in downstate Illinois the chance to gain important information, learn about valuable resources and network with hundreds of their peers,” said Thomas Bielema, director of OSHA’s Peoria office. “Numerous exhibitors will join governmental and nonprofit organizations in demonstrating products designed to make the workplace safe and healthful.”

This DIOSH Day will also feature a health fair with free screenings. For more information and to register, call 877-346-7432 toll-free or visit www.dioshday.com.

return to top of page


OSHA teams with local Wisconsin organizations to hold fall protection classes in Spanish

Construction worker on roof of house

Midwest Certified Training and the Latino Academy of Workforce Development are now offering classes in Spanish which address fall protection safety. Construction contractors, workers, firms who hire roofers and field employees are all encouraged to attend the classes to understand fall hazards in construction as well as the applicable OSHA standards.

Spanish-language classes offer training on roof work safety, ladder safety and personal fall arrest systems, in support of OSHA’s initiative to ensure that workers receive safety training in a language and vocabulary that they understand. Classes are held the second Friday of every month in Madison, Wisconsin. Those interested in attending can register by calling 608-310-4573. To learn more about preventing fatal falls in construction, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

return to top of page


Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee to meet March 10-11

Whistleblower Protection Programs

Members of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee will meet March 11 at the Labor Department's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. In conjunction with the full committee meeting, work groups will meet to discuss Section 11(c), transportation industry issues, and industry best practices on March 10.

For additional information, see the Federal Register notice.

return to top of page



New educational resources: Safe patient handling in nursing homes and anti-retaliation rights under the Food Safety Modernization Act

Safe Patient Handling Brochure Cover

OSHA has developed Safe Patient Handling (PDF*), a new brochure that addresses the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders among nursing home and residential care workers and explains the benefits of implementing safe patient handling programs. For more information about safe patient handling and on protecting healthcare workers, visit OSHA’s Healthcare Web page.

In addition, a new Spanish-language Whistleblower Fact Sheet (PDF*) is available, which details the rights of whistleblowers under the Food Safety Modernization Act. Visit www.whistleblowers.gov for additional fact sheets in English and Spanish.

return to top of page


OSHA and NOAA partner for National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week poster

OSHA and the National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration have joined forces for National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2-8, to address the unique hazards that severe weather poses for workers and employers.

OSHA and NOAA encourage employers to stay aware of weather forecasts, train workers on workplace severe weather plans, and keep emergency supplies, including a battery-operated weather radio, on hand to be better prepared when severe weather strikes. Employers must also ensure that workers involved in response and recovery are protected from potential safety and health hazards.

OSHA provides resources on workplace preparedness and response for severe weather emergencies including tornadoes, floods, and winter weather, among others. Follow all of the week’s activities on NOAA’s Web page and visit OSHA’s Tornado Preparedness and Response page for more information on protecting workers from severe weather events.

return to top of page


Help OSHA evaluate its heat illness prevention campaign

Water. Rest. Shade. Heat Illness Prevention.

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 (click on "Tell us what you think") or at www.surveymonkey.com/s/2013HeatWebpageSurvey.

return to top of page


Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook

Thanks for following and retweeting! Continue following @USDOL on Twitter and visiting the DOL Facebook page for up-to-the-minute OSHA information and resources.


return to top of page


Job openings

Are you interested in a career with the Department of Labor? DOL has job opportunities throughout the country, including openings in OSHA.

Images of DOL employees

return to top of page


See DOL's weekly electronic newsletter for more DOL news.

For more frequent updates on OSHA activities follow DOL on TwitterTwitter and FacebookFacebook.

QuickTakes is emailed free twice monthly to nearly 71,000 subscribers. You can receive it faster and easier by subscribing to the RSS FeedRSS feed that delivers almost instant information. Visit OSHA's RSS Feeds Web page to subscribe.

QuickTakes is a product of OSHA's Office of Communications. If you have comments or suggestions that you think could improve the quality of QuickTakes, please submit them to OSHA.QuickTakes@dol.gov or contact the Office of Communications at 202-693-1999. [Note: This address is for input on QuickTakes only. Other questions concerning OSHA should be submitted through the agency's Electronic Mail Form.] For more information on occupational safety and health, visit OSHA's website.


If this email was forwarded to you and you'd like to subscribe, please visit: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/quicktakes/subscribe.html. Register for your FREE QuickTakes newsletter today!

To remove yourself from the OSHA QuickTakes Subscription list, click here. Thank you.


* Accessibility Assistance
Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF documents.

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.

Close