|April 15, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 8|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
On April 11, a federal judge sentenced Water Cardin, former safety manger of the Shaw Group, to 78 months in prison for deliberately falsifying records of workplace injuries. Shaw, formerly Stone and Webster Construction, held a contract for construction services at several TVA facilities, and used the false injury reports to claim bonuses of more than $2.5 million under the contract.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, issued the following statement:
"This case shows the destructive consequences that purely rate-based incentive programs can have. Far from promoting safety, the bonus led to a systematic effort to conceal injures. Injured workers were denied or delayed medical treatment. Underlying workplace safety issues went unaddressed. There is a better way. A comprehensive injury and illness prevention program in which employers commit to finding and fixing hazards can achieve real safety in the workplace."
For more information, see the Department of Justice press release.
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard has been revised to align it 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. Chemical manufacturers and importers are now required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided. In addition, Safety Data Sheets will now have a specified 16-section format.
By December 1, 2013, all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must conduct new training for workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.
OSHA has prepared a number of materials to assist employers in complying with the new updates. The Hazard Communication Web page explains the changes and contains a number of materials including: a new fact sheet (PDF*) that reviews the new training requirements, new QuickCards that review the new pictogram label requirements and a brief (PDF*) on labels and pictograms.
OSHA has cited Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container with 11 safety violations, including seven willful and three repeat, for exposing workers to machine guarding hazards at its Hubbard, Ohio, metal container manufacturing facility. Proposed fines total $589,000.
OSHA initiated an inspection of the facility on Oct. 17, 2012, after receiving a complaint that alleged Ball Aerosol continued to expose machine operators to unguarded hazardous machinery, even though the employer had been cited by OSHA for lack of machine guarding on the same equipment in 2009. OSHA's inspection found that the company knowingly permitted workers to operate the machines without proper guarding. The inspection revealed that the guarding was not installed or was removed because it slowed material positioning and production output.
Six willful, egregious citations were issued for inadequate machine guarding over the blades of slitter machines. The citations are being issued as willful because the company certified abatement for machine guarding on much of this equipment in 2009 and had a history of machine guarding violations in the past. OSHA also found that the company knowingly continued to violate agency requirements each time the machinery was placed in operation. Because of the hazards and the violations cited, Ball Aerosol has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. See the news release for the current citations issued against the company.
OSHA has cited Mike Neri Sewer & Water Contractor Inc. for seven safety violations, including three willful, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins and moving soil and chunks of asphalt during trenching operations. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation after an OSHA inspector witnessed apparent cave-in hazards while traveling past a construction site in Des Plaines on Oct. 3, 2012. Proposed penalties total $110,440. Because of the hazards and the violations cited, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.
"This is not the first time this contractor has exposed vulnerable workers to dangerous excavation hazards," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "These types of hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year. No job should cost a worker's life due to an employer's failure to properly protect and train workers."
For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Ryan Roofing Inc. in Salina with three willful safety violations after a worker suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed when he fell 20 feet from the roof of a commercial building the company was replacing in Hoisington on Oct. 3, 2012. Proposed penalties total $115,500.
The willful violations include failing to ensure the integrity of a roof structure employers were working on, to provide and use fall protection systems on a low-sloped roof and to provide training on fall protection to workers. Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, Ryan Roofing 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 and visit OSHA's Stop Falls Web page for information on fall protection standards.
OSHA has published a new bilingual English-Spanish booklet on safe ladder use, "Falling Off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely" (*PDF). Developed in partnership with the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Council and Ministry of Manpower, the booklet provides clear, easy-to-follow information about ladder hazards and using ladders safely, featuring simple illustrations and plain language writing.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and OSHA is working with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda to get the word out about how to "Plan, Provide, Train" to prevent fatal falls. To learn more, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls.
On April 10, OSHA, NIOSH and CPWR co-hosted a free webinar on preventing fatal falls in construction, welcoming an audience of more than 700 participants. An archived version is available for view.
OSHA is partnering with construction contractors, the Federal Highway Administration, the state of Georgia and local government organizations to sponsor a one-hour safety stand-down at construction sites around Georgia during National Highway Work Zone Awareness Week, which will be April 15-19.
Workers will voluntarily stop work at construction sites from 7 to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct work zone safety training focused on the prevention of distracted driving, such as texting while driving, and worker injuries from traffic objects and vehicles. Approximately 75 percent of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment, such as trucks or cranes. See the news release for more information.
Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris today announced that he will re-establish the charter of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. Re-establishing MACOSH will allow the committee to continue its important work protecting the safety and health of workers in the maritime industry. Since receiving its first charter in 1995, MACOSH has made more than 100 recommendations to OSHA. The agency used these recommendations to develop guidance products and standards. MACOSH meetings are open to the public. See the news release for more information.
OSHA's Little Rock Area Office joined the Association de Mujeres de Arkansas and other organizations last month to provide local employers, workers and their families with vital information on workplace safety in English and Spanish. Mary Walter, a compliance assistance specialist from OSHA's Little Rock Area Office, answered questions about OSHA's mission, workers' rights, employers' responsibilities and resources available to help keep workers safe and healthy on the job. A Spanish-speaking translator helped her answer attendees' questions about hazards faced by family members working in construction — particularly heat and fall hazards.
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.
In response to questions received from workers, employers and other workplace safety and health stakeholders, OSHA regularly posts new frequently asked questions at www.osha.gov/OSHA_FAQs.html. FAQs are also available in Spanish at www.osha.gov/OSHA_FAQsSP.html.
Recently added topics include requirements for recordkeeping and reporting, respirator fit-testing, and access to clean drinking water. Questions also cover workers' rights, employers’ responsibilities and how to get free copies of OSHA resources. For more information visit the FAQs (y en español).
Joseph Coble, an industrial hygienist in OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance in Washington, D.C., has been named a Distinguished Fellow by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. The AIHA Fellow Award was established to recognize members who have made significant contributions to the practice of industrial hygiene through research, leadership, publications, education or public service. Dr. Coble is a certified industrial hygienist with a doctorate in public health and 30 years of work experience as an occupational safety and health professional in both private industry and governmental agencies.
In a series of Workers' Memorial Day events on and around April 28, 2013, OSHA's national and regional offices will honor the sacrifices made by those who have been lost, disabled, injured or made sick by their jobs. Workers' Memorial Day is also an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to protecting the health and safety of every worker.
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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