|April 1, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 7|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
The National League of Cities Risk Information Sharing Consortium is spreading the word to state municipalities about the Campaign to Prevent Fatal Falls in Construction. Falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs are the leading cause of death in construction and a hazard for many municipal workers. Read the latest NLC-RISC report to learn how this association of more than 16,000 member cities, towns, counties and other local government entities is getting out the life-saving message of "Plan. Provide. Train."
At 11 a.m. EST on April 10, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda Construction Sector Council will co-moderate a free webinar on preventing deadly falls in construction. To register and learn more about the campaign partners' efforts to stop fatal falls, visit the registration page. More information and resources on fall prevention are available at www.osha.gov/stopfalls.
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This update to the Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The first deadline in the implementation phase is Dec. 1, 2013, the date by which employers must train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheet.
OSHA has prepared a number of additional materials that explain the new changes to the requirements of the HCS, including QuickCards, fact sheets, a list of frequently asked questions and a brief (PDF*) on labels and pictograms. These and other materials are available on OSHA's Hazard Communications page.
OSHA has cited Wynnewood Refining Co. LLC with repeat, serious and other-than-serious violations following the death of two workers at the company’s crude oil refinery in Wynnewood, Okla. Proposed penalties total $281,100.
OSHA's Oklahoma City Area Office began its investigation Sept. 29, 2012, at the South Powell Street facility following the explosion of a boiler, which killed the employees. The inspection was expanded to include associated contractors and ongoing maintenance activities during a turnaround operation. OSHA investigators found violations of the process safety management standard, which requires specific management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals.
Because of the hazards and the violations cited, Wynnewood Refining Co. LLC has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations. For more information on specific violations cited, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Kyklos Bearings International for 13 alleged serious safety violations after an October 2012 complaint inspection found that the company failed to comply with asbestos regulations while removing boiler components at the Sandusky facility. Proposed fines total $65,000.
A total of 13 serious safety violations of OSHA's asbestos standard were cited for failing to establish a regulated area; provide initial exposure assessment and air monitoring; provide supervision by a competent person; use approved methods for the removal and handling of asbestos-containing material; require employees wear personal protective equipment, such as protective clothing and respirators; display warning signs and labels; and provide a decontamination area, asbestos removal training and adequate waste disposal. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Lieze Associates, doing business as Eagle Recycling of New Jersey, with one repeat and three serious safety violations after a worker's fingers were amputated in December 2012 at the company's North Bergen recycling transfer station. OSHA's investigation was initiated in response to a referral by the North Bergen Police Department and has resulted in proposed fines of $70,070.
OSHA inspectors found that procedures were not used to lock out the energy source of a conveyor belt system while the worker was clearing a cardboard jam, which resulted in the amputation. OSHA cited the company with a serious violation for failing to implement a lockout/tagout program to control potentially hazardous energy. The repeat violation was cited for exposing workers to 8-foot fall hazards while working on unguarded platforms. A similar violation was cited in 2009 and 2010. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA recently published Firefighting Precautions at Facilities with Combustible Dust (PDF*), a new informative booklet that outlines safe procedures for emergency responders who may face fires and explosions caused by combustible dust.
"This booklet will keep both emergency response and facility workers safe by giving them a framework to prepare for potential emergencies involving combustible dust," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Stakeholders that have reviewed the booklet, including fire chiefs and union health and safety representatives, describe it as 'an excellent resource for explaining the hazards associated with combustible dust and outlining the best practices for pre-incident operational preparation by emergency responders.'"
For more information, read the news release.
OSHA Area Offices in Kansas City, Omaha, St. Louis and Wichita recently signed a partnership with the Builders Association of Kansas City to promote safe and healthful work environments for construction and general industry workers in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. The partnership will encourage and provide methods for employers to voluntarily improve their safety and health performance, as well as recognize employers with exemplary safety and health programs.
OSHA’s Region X Bellevue Area Office recently renewed its alliance with the Puget Sound Shipbuilders Association to continue fostering safe and healthful working conditions for shipyard workers. During the two-year agreement, alliance members will address worker exposure to shipyard hazards by developing training programs on personal protective equipment, management issues such as workplace violence, hazard recognition and health hazards. OSHA personnel also intend to visit shipyards to observe and receive training on best practice situations.
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. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.
After seeing a spike in workplace injuries, Elderwood Health Care at Wedgewood turned to OSHA for help to reduce injuries among its 160 healthcare workers. The residential facility in Amherst, N.Y., provides long-term nursing and rehabilitation services and care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory-impairing disorders. Elderwood worked with the state's on-site consultation program to identify and correct hazards and improve its safety and health program. After asking OSHA for assistance, the facility saw a 66 percent reduction in worker injury and illness cases. For more information, see the Elderwood success story.
OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. As part of OSHA's On-site Consultation Program, highly qualified safety and health professionals 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.
Through Susan Harwood grant funds, Make the Road New York was well equipped to respond to the immediate occupational health and safety needs of immigrant and Latino low wage workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In October 2012, MRNY trained workers on construction hazards at Sandy-affected sites and provided them with personal protective equipment. MRNY credits OSHA for its ability to train workers on occupational health and safety, and thanks to grant funds, has been able to certify close to 650 low wage immigrant workers. Since 1978, the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program has provided organizations such as MRNY with support for outreach and training for hard-to-reach workers in high-hazard industries.
A new Joint Commission report (PDF*) highlights the Frontline Hospital Workers and the Worker Safety/Patient Safety Relationship workshop held Oct. 25, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels delivered opening remarks at the workshop, which focused on the perspectives of frontline healthcare workers (nursing assistants, environmental services workers, ward clerks, and others) and the strong link between patient and worker safety.
The New York State Nurses Association and New York State Zero Lift Task Force will also explore worker/patient safety issues at their 6th Annual Safe Patient Handling Conference This event, to be held April 24-25 at the Albany Hotel in Albany, N.Y. The conference will feature sessions on developing safe patient handling programs and hands-on demonstrations of equipment used in safe patient handling environments. For more information, visit www.nysna.org.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association, has announced the winners of the 2013 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™. This year’s winners came from the manufacturing sector and the educational field. Presented Feb. 22 at the 38th Annual Hearing Conservation Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., the awards honor organizations that have shown dedication to excellence in hearing loss prevention practices in the work environment and beyond. Vulcan Materials Company received the 2013 Safe-in-Sound Award for Excellence for its implementation of a quality data-driven hearing loss prevention program. To view the award recipient presentations, visit http://www.safeinsound.us/winners.html. For more information about noise and hearing loss prevention, visit OSHA's Occupational Noise Exposure page.
OSHA is reminding employers to post OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2012 and were logged on OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. The summary must be posted between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2013, and should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in less hazardous 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.
OSHA has published a new InfoSheet on Toluene Safety in the Workplace. Toluene, also known as "methylbenzene", "phenylmethane" or "toluol," is a clear, colorless liquid used in paints, thinners, lacquers, metal cleaners, fingernail polish, glues and other products. The sweet-smelling chemical is highly flammable and may catch fire if exposed to heat or flames. For more information about how to prevent hazardous exposure to Toluene, including how and when to wear personal protective equipment, see the InfoSheet available in html or PDF*.
Several new Fact Sheets and QuickCards are also available to help employers protect workers performing shipyard and longshoring activities. These resources are available online on OSHA's Maritime Industry publications page.
OSHA has developed a spirometry guidance document for occupational health professionals. Spirometry measures lung function, and is commonly used to evaluate workers’ respiratory health and their ability to perform certain tasks or use personal protective equipment. For more information, see Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs: Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals (PDF*).
Three new fact sheets on hexavalent chromium exposure describe operations in which workers may be exposed to hexavalent chromium, summarize the known health effects, and provide recommendations for control measures to reduce worker exposures. The fact sheets are available in three industries: Aerospace/Air Transport, Bridge Painting, and Electroplating.
OSHA has also released a new fact sheet on welding fume that describes the types of welding, hazardous components of welding fume, health effects associated with exposure to welding fume and steps employers and workers can take to reduce exposure to welding fume.
Learn more about health insurance choices that will become available when key parts of the health care law take effect. Visit Healthcare.gov for information on a new way to buy health insurance for yourself, your family or your small business that offers more choice, more transparency, and more control over your health insurance options.
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