|April 1, 2011 · Volume 10, Issue 7||
|In this issue
OSHA and the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy will hold a series of three teleconferences to reach out to the small business community for input on OSHA's proposal to add a column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders on employer injury and illness logs. This proposal would require those employers already mandated to keep injury and illness records to add the step of checking a column when recording work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The proposed rule covers only MSDs that employers are already required to record under the longstanding OSHA rule on recordkeeping. Small businesses from around the country are encouraged to participate in the teleconferences. The first will be held Monday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The second and third will be held Tuesday, April 12 at 9 a.m. EDT and 1:30 p.m. EDT. Participants may provide input about their experiences in recording work-related MSDs and how they believe the proposed rule would impact them. Those interested in participating in one of these teleconferences must contact Regina Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday, April 4. See the news release for more information.
OSHA applauds the March 25 ruling by Chief Administrative Law Judge Covette Rooney, of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, upholding the citation and full penalty issued to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for inadequate crowd management following a November 2008 trampling death of a worker at one of the company's retail locations in New York.
OSHA cited Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for inadequate crowd management after a Nov. 28, 2008, “Blitz Friday” holiday sales event during which a worker was knocked to the ground and crushed by a crowd of about 2,000 shoppers surging into a Wal-Mart store in Valley Stream, N.Y. OSHA inspectors found that the store put workers at risk by failing to implement reasonable and effective crowd management practices and issued a citation, carrying a $7,000 fine, under the agency's general duty clause. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. disputed the citation before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which decides contests of citations or penalties resulting from OSHA inspections of American workplaces.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels said in a news release, “Today's ruling supports OSHA's position that, even in the absence of a specific rule or standard, employers are still legally responsible for providing a place of employment free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious injury or death.”
Maritime advisory committee welcomes new members at meeting to address protecting workers from shipyard hazards
The Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health is meeting April 19-20 at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C., to advise OSHA on protecting the safety and health of maritime workers. MACOSH was established in 1995 to advise the Secretary of Labor on various issues related to safe and healthful work conditions in maritime industries. The maritime industry has been selected for special attention due to high injury and illness rates and the specialized nature of some occupations. MACOSH also provides a voice for stakeholders to express their concerns and suggestions for shipyard worker safety directly to OSHA's leadership.
This will be the first MACOSH meeting for the 15 committee members newly appointed by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. The members represent a number of interests:
Government and Professional
See the April 5 notice in the Federal Register for more information.
OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health developed two guidance documents, one for workers and one for employers, which describe the use of spirometry testing to help reduce and prevent worker exposure to respiratory hazards.
Spirometry is a common pulmonary function test that measures how well a person moves air in and out of the lungs. Workers who inhale some types of dusts, gases or other air contaminants, including food flavorings such as diacetyl, can experience lung damage. The spirometry test may detect breathing problems or significant changes in a worker's lung function at an early stage. The information in these new guidance documents help employers identify and eliminate hazardous workplace exposures and reduce or prevent the chances of workers developing lung disease. See the news release for more information.
Michaels takes part in panels on legacy of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire
Receives public service award from memorial organization
The following day, James McCarthy, president of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial, presented Michaels with the Clara Lemlich Public Service Award during a ceremony and dinner held at the New York City Fire Museum. Michaels was one of five recipients honored for their professional dedication to improving workplace safety and benefits for working people.
Clara Lemlich was a labor leader who helped organize a strike of 20,000 Shirtwaist workers in New York's garment industry in 1909. Proceeds from the event support the Triangle Scholarship program, which has given $264,000 in college aid to children of injured workers since 2003.
Two regional OSHA offices are hosting summits in April that will bring together workers, employers, faith-based and community organizations, worker organizations, consulates, and government officials to discuss workplace safety and health issues, workplace wage and hour issues and worker rights. OSHA Region II and the Department of Labor's Wage & Hour Division will host on April 10 the Southern New Jersey Action Summit for Latino and Immigrant Workers. See the flier in English or Spanish for more information. OSHA Region III will host on April 15 a Greater Philadelphia Summit for Latino/Immigrant Worker Construction Safety and Health. This Summit will have a particular focus on construction and attendees will receive guidance on recognizing and eliminating scaffolding and fall hazards. See the flier in English or Spanish for more information. Visit OSHA's National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health & Safety Web page for more resources.
OSHA inspections of three Gavilon Grain LLC facilities, initiated after a worker was killed while cleaning a grain bin, resulted in this Ohio subsidiary of Gavilon Group LLC being fined $465,500 and cited with 46 safety and health violations. The 20-year-old worker was killed at the company's Morral, Ohio, facility when he was caught in a mechanical device used to move grain through the bottom of the bin. As a result of violations discovered at the Morral location, OSHA initiated inspections at the company's facilities in West Jefferson and Harpster, Ohio. These investigations fall under the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. In 2010 and 2009, OSHA cited Gavilon Group facilities in Nebraska and Delaware, respectively, for violations of the Grain Handling and other standards. See the news release for more information.
OSHA fined Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC $212,000 and cited the company for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards following a September 2010 incident in which a worker at the company's Lincoln, Maine, paper mill was burned when a high-pressure steam line burst. OSHA found that the company failed to block the steam line to prevent any potential release of steam or hot condensate, which is steam that has been condensed back into water. OSHA had cited the mill in March 2008 for a similar hazard. Other recurring conditions included not covering hot condensate lines with insulating materials; having unguarded open-sided work platforms; and not verifying that electrical equipment parts had been de-energized before employees worked on them. See the news release for more information.
OSHA fined Calumet Lubricants Co. LP, a subsidiary of Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP, $207,500 and cited the company with 58 violations for exposing workers to possible fires, explosions and other hazards. OSHA inspected Calumet's Cotton Valley, La., refinery as part of the agency's Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program. The PSM standard emphasizes management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices. Inspectors found that the company seriously endangered the safety and lives of its workers through violations such as failing to conduct adequate inspections and testing of piping and pressure vessels; failing to ensure that employees in process and administrative buildings were provided adequate protection in case of an explosion; and failing to provide an adequate lockout/tagout program for the control of hazardous energy. See the news release for more information.
Previous OSHA fines against Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP subsidiaries include $8,500 in 2004; $122,400 in 2007; and $173,000 in February 2010. The company and its subsidiaries employ about 600 workers at six refineries within northwest Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
DeBourgh Manufacturing Company contacted OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program in the mid-1990s when the metal fabricator was providing minimal, limited training to workers at its La Junta, Colo., facility and experiencing approximately 30 worker injuries per year. The on-site consultation team identified 27 safety and health hazards in its first visit. DeBourgh shifted gears and began the transformation of the company's safety culture by focusing on preventing hazards and emphasizing the importance of safety. By the early 2000s, the company had greatly improved safety and health awareness and was approved for the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program in 2003. DeBourgh officials now conduct daily walkthroughs and monthly employee meetings to ensure the effectiveness of the site's safety and health program. The company's attention to safety resulted in the implementation of improved ventilation, machine guarding, maintenance requirements and noise exposure controls for specific processes or machinery. See OSHA's Web site for more information.
Indiana OSHA fines Notre Dame nearly $78,000 after student employee is killed while filming football practice
The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the University of Notre Dame $77,500 and cited it with the most serious safety violation allowable under Indiana law after the fatal injury of a 20-year-old student employee. Declan Sullivan was killed while videotaping a Notre Dame football practice from a scissor lift that toppled in high winds Oct. 27, 2010. IOSHA inspectors found overwhelming evidence that the university made a decision to use its scissor lifts in known adverse weather conditions. The agency also cited Notre Dame with five other serious safety violations, including failure to properly train the student employees in how to operate a scissor lift. The Indiana Department of Labor also issued a letter to a number of associations around the state to urge high schools, colleges and universities to review their use of scissor lifts in athletic and band events. See the news release for more information. Indiana is one of 27 states that operates an OSHA-approved State Plan that is responsible for the adoption and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards throughout the state.
A safety inspector with the Virginia Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Program cited a contactor in August for failing to ensure that workers on a rooftop had proper fall protection. Falls are a leading killer in Virginia. The contractor was required to abate this hazard by providing his roofing workers with harnesses and lanyards, as well as the required training in the use of this equipment. Months later, one of the contractor's workers who was wearing the fall protection equipment slipped and fell while framing a single-family house in Forest, Va. According to the contractor, not only did this equipment save the worker's life but it prevented him from suffering any injury. The contractor called the inspector to thank him and the VOSH Compliance Management team for putting his company on the right path in time to prevent a needless workplace tragedy.
OSHA representatives will be exhibiting May 18 at the 21st annual Safety and Health Day of Northwest Ohio. The event, to be held in Perrysburg at Owens College, promotes safety and provides educational programs for employers and their workers in an effort to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities on the job. Volunteer safety and health professionals dedicate hundreds of hours of their time to develop an educational program that is free to the public, offering sessions on topics including safety and health-related issues in the workplace and in the home, safe driving and emergency preparedness. See the event Web site for more information.
OSHA formed a new Alliance with the South Louisiana Service Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network. The Alliance will focus on furthering the safety and health of oil and gas workers in Louisiana. "The joint resources of this relationship will help make the oil and gas industry as safe and healthful as possible," said William A. Burke, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Dallas. See the news release for more information.
OSHA awards grants to nonprofit organizations on a competitive basis through its Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. Grants support programs to educate and train employers and workers on how to recognize, avoid and prevent safety and health hazards in their workplaces.
OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America
Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of resources and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for an interactive timeline of the agency's history, an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and a commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels will speak at the Symposium on Prevention of Occupationally-Related Distracted Driving to be held April 18 in Laurel, Md. Distracted driving, including texting while driving and cell phone use, is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes. This symposium is designed to bring together a variety of stakeholders interested in reducing work-related driving distractions and generate recommendations for action, including new directions for research. Hosted by OSHA, Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Department of Transportation, the symposium will include presentations, interactive discussions, opportunities for networking and demonstrations of training materials. Those interested in attending can download a registration form online. Visit OSHA's Distracted Driving Web page for more information on the agency's efforts to combat this growing threat to workers' safety. The page includes a link to OSHA's new distracted driving brochure that explains to employers and supervisors the importance of preventing workers from texting while driving.
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Editor: Richard De Angelis, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999.
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