|April 16, 2012 · Volume 11, Issue 9|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
Bartlett Grain Co. L.P. faces five willful and eight serious safety violations cited by OSHA following an October 2011 grain elevator explosion in Atchison that killed six workers and left two others hospitalized.
The willful violations include allowing grain dust – which is nine times as explosive as coal dust – to accumulate, using compressed air to remove dust without first shutting down ignition sources, jogging (repeatedly starting and stopping) inside bucket elevators to free legs choked by grain, using electrical equipment inappropriate for the working environment and failing to require employees to use fall protection when working from heights. The serious violations involve a lack of proper preventive maintenance, certification and lubrication of grain handling equipment; inadequate emergency action plan training for employees and contractors; a lack of employee and contractor training on job hazards; and a housekeeping program that was deficient because it did not prevent grain dust accumulations. The citations to Bartlett Grain, which is based in Kansas City, Mo., carry $406,000 in proposed fines.
Topeka-based Kansas Grain Inspection Services Inc., a contractor employed by Bartlett Grain, also is being cited for one willful violation involving a lack of fall protection for employees working on the top of rail cars; one serious violation, the lack of a hazard communication program; and one other-than-serious violation, not providing basic advisory information about respirators to employees. These violations carry total proposed penalties of $67,500. More details are available in the news release.
Combustible dust explosions have killed scores of workers and injured hundreds over the past few decades. For more information, visit OSHA's Combustible Dust page.
Delta Air Lines Inc. has signed a corporate-wide settlement agreement with OSHA in order to protect workers who operate baggage handling vehicles. The agreement is the result of a citation issued to Delta following a workplace fatality in which an employee operating a baggage tug vehicle without wearing a seat belt was ejected from the vehicle and died.
The agreement covers approximately 90 of the Atlanta-based company’s airport sites that fall under federal OSHA's jurisdiction, as well as 16,000 Delta employees and 6,000 baggage handling vehicles. Under the agreement, Delta will come into compliance with applicable requirements for the use of seat belts by ensuring that all types of the company's baggage handling vehicles are equipped with them and that employees use the seat belts while operating the vehicles on specified airport routes. For more information, read the settlement agreement.
In addition to entering into the agreement with Delta, OSHA will address this hazard throughout the airline industry. The agency recently sent a hazard alert letter to airlines across the nation reminding them that they are obligated to comply with applicable seat belt use requirements. See the news release for additional details.
OSHA is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program to fund training for workers and employers in recognizing workplace hazards and control measures, and understanding their rights and responsibilities.
For FY 2012, a total of $1.2 million is available to nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations; employer associations; labor unions; joint labor/management associations; and colleges and universities. The application is available at https://www.grants.gov. For more information, read the news release and visit OSHA's Susan Harwood Training Grant Program page.
OSHA invites potential applicants to participate in a free webinar on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 11:30AM EST. This webinar will explain the application process, including eligibility, performance and submittal requirements. Pre-registration is not required. Participants can access the webinar by using the following information:
Questions from the public should be directed to Kimberly Mason or Jim Barnes at HarwoodGrants@dol.gov or 847-759-7700.
On April 5, OSHA announced a new National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities to protect workers from serious safety and health hazards that are common in medical industries.
OSHA develops national emphasis programs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will target nursing homes and residential care facilities in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and injuries.
In 2010, according to the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing and residential care facilities experienced one of the highest rates of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses of all major American industries. "These are people who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are not well. It is not acceptable that they continue to get hurt at such high rates," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Our new emphasis program for inspecting these facilities will strengthen protections for society's caretakers."
For more information, see the news release, read the full directive, or find educational materials for employers and workers in nursing homes and residential care facilities on OSHA's Nursing Home page.
OSHA is seeking applications from nonprofit organizations for authorization to provide standard classroom instruction on occupational safety and health as part of the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers Program.
The national program serves private sector workers, supervisors and employers within OSHA's jurisdiction. OSHA selects organizations according to their qualifications and ability to serve these regional populations. The program was initiated in 1992 to meet a growing demand for private sector training similar to that provided for the agency's compliance assistance specialists at the OSHA Training Institute in Arlington Heights, Ill. In the past 10 years, OTI Education Centers have trained more than a quarter million students, and more than 38,000 individuals received training in fiscal year 2011 alone.
OSHA will hold a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) on Thursday, May 3, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
Six new members have been appointed by the Secretary to a three-year term. FACOSH advises the Secretary of Labor on all matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees, and is comprised of 16 members: eight representing federal agency management and eight from labor organizations representing federal employees. To learn about the Secretary's new appointees, learn meeting details, or read the agenda, see the news release. Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by April 23, 2012 via https://www.regulations.gov, mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for more information.
OSHA will hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) May 8-11, 2012, in Washington, DC. ACCSH Work Groups will meet May 8-9, and the full committee will meet May 10-11.
ACCSH, established under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, advises the Secretary of Labor and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health on construction standards and policy matters. Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by April 27, 2012, via https://www.regulations.gov, mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for more information.
Researchers at Purdue University's Agricultural Safety and Health Program have found that grain entrapment accidents declined 47 percent in 2011. This marks a significant drop from 2010's record high of 51 entrapments, including 26 fatalities.
While entrapment data for 2011 is not yet complete, the Purdue researchers believe OSHA's enforcement and outreach efforts are to thank for a noticeable decrease in the number of entrapment incidents in 2011. In addition to improvements in the quality of stored grain, OSHA's efforts, including enforcement measures at commercial facilities, have heightened awareness of the dangers of engulfment in grain storage bins. For more details, read the full report on Purdue's 2011 Summary of Grain Entrapments in the United States.
In an April 10 letter, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced its discovery of certain nail polish and nail care products that may endanger nail salon workers and the public despite being marketed as non-toxic. These findings are especially critical for California's estimated 121,000 licensed nail care technicians, many of whom are exposed every day to chemicals in poorly ventilated salons.
In May 2011, DTSC tested twenty-five nail care products sold by California distributors. Of the nearly half claiming to be "toxic-free," ten contained toluene and four contained dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Deborah Raphael, Director of DTSC, reports that manufacturers of dangerous, potentially mislabeled products will be required to analyze their products, seek out safer alternative ingredients, or face regulatory actions. For more details of the study, read the DTSC letter.
OSHA has ordered Newark-based Jersey Window Factory & Building Supply Inc. to reinstate a truck driver who was fired after reporting safety concerns about the commercial vehicle he was driving. An investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program found reasonable cause that the termination violated the whistleblower provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).
The worker raised concerns several times about vehicle defects and safety concerns, questioning whether the company's safety practices were in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. After raising these concerns, the worker’s hours were reduced. The worker subsequently filed an OSHA safety complaint and was terminated on July 2, 2008. OSHA has ordered the company to pay the former worker back wages and bonuses that cover the period from July 2008 until a bona fide offer of reinstatement is made. The company also has been ordered to pay $18,000 in compensatory damages. More details are available in the news release.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the STAA and of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, as well as 19 other whistleblower statutes. Detailed information on workers' whistleblower rights is available on OSHA's Whistleblower page.
Senior District Judge Joe Billy McDade of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division, has found All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc. in civil contempt of court for failing to allow OSHA to inspect its Galva facility between May 4 and July 5, 2011. The Alpha-headquartered company has been ordered to pay $31,000 in fines for contempt and $10,964.95 in attorney's fees. Read more details of the case in the news release.
All-Feed Processing & Packaging has been inspected by OSHA 12 times since 2000, resulting in significant enforcement actions on six occasions. Most recently in November 2011, OSHA cited All-Feed for 23 safety and health violations at its facility in Galva, including willful violations of OSHA's air contaminant, respiratory protection and hearing conservation standards. Due to the numerous willful violations, OSHA placed All-Feed in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers and mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.
OSHA has issued citations to two employers for exposing workers to combustible dust and other hazards.
In Decatur, Ala., OSHA has cited Alabama Farmers Cooperative Inc. with 17 safety and health violations and penalties totaling $191,700 following an October inspection initiated by a complaint. Two willful violations include failing to establish a housekeeping program to reduce the accumulation of, and use approved electrical equipment in the presence of, combustible dust. OSHA has also cited the cooperative for thirteen serious safety and health violations, including failing to cover the grain chute opening, provide guardrails to prevent fall hazards, and guard various pieces of equipment. For more details of the violations, read the news release.
In Steeleville, Ill., OSHA has cited Gilster-Mary Lee Corp for six violations after two maintenance workers conducting welding operations sustained serious burns to their upper bodies as the result of an explosion within a dust collector at the company's pasta manufacturing plant on Oct. 6, 2011. Three willful violations include failing to eliminate dust deflagration and explosion hazards on indoor dust collectors and air material separators, contain dust during the bagging of powdered sugar, shut down ducts and conveyor systems during welding operations (which had been responsible for carrying a spark to the nearby dust collector), and ensure that electrical equipment installed in areas exposed to combustible dust was approved and safe for those locations. Due to the willful violations, OSHA has placed Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers and mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. See the news release for more information.
OSHA has cited Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company, for exposing workers to fall, mechanical and electrical hazards at its Bath shipyard in Augusta, Maine. Bath Iron Works faces a total of $171,300 in proposed fines following a safety inspection by OSHA's Augusta Area Office.
The inspection was conducted under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting (SST) program and a local emphasis program focusing on hazards in ship- and boat-building and repair. Hazards included workers exposed to falls from a lack of fall protection as well as unguarded roof edges and floor holes and openings; tripping and fall hazards from walkways obstructed by materials, equipment, hoses and service cords; an unqualified employee operating an overhead crane; defective and uninspected lifting slings; uninspected lift trucks; unguarded electrical equipment; exposed and damaged electrical sheathing; and the improper storage of flammable chemicals.
Read the news release for more information about the repeat and serious violations.
Employers who are required to keep the OSHA Form 300 Injury and Illness log must post OSHA's Form 300A from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2012 in a common area wherever notices to workers are usually posted. The summary must list the total numbers of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2011. All establishment summaries must be certified by a company executive.
Copies of the OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are available for download on the OSHA Recordkeeping Web page. See OSHA's Recordkeeping Handbook for more information on posting requirements for OSHA's Form 300A.
OSHA, along with Cal-OSHA, is hosting an Action Summit on Worker Health and Safety on April 26 in Los Angeles, California. OSHA is working with UCLA and other local groups on the event, where Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis is expected to speak. For more information, Click here to register for the event. For more information, see the flyer.
The summit is part of a series of Workers' Memorial Day events around the country to honor the memories of those killed, disabled, injured or made sick by their jobs. Workers' Memorial Day also recognizes the successes of OSHA's forty-one years of common-sense standards and strong enforcement, which have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries.
OSHA will be participating in Workers' Memorial Day events in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and many other states. To find a Workers' Memorial Day or other OSHA event near you, contact your Regional OSHA office. To locate other OSHA meetings see OSHA's Conferences and Meetings calendar.
The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has selected OSHA's Region IV Administrator, Cindy Coe as their 2012 recipient of the prestigious Alice Hamilton Award. The award recognizes an outstanding woman who has made significant achievements in occupational and environmental hygiene.
Coe, a certified industrial hygienist who has served on AIHA's Board of Directors, was recognized for her initiation of the interactive Glenn Williamson forum at the association's annual conference and expo. Her very popular forum has raised awareness about the role of the regulator in addressing workplace health hazards, illustrated real-life workplace scenarios, and shown the application and effectiveness of control methods and solutions.
OSHA will host a kickoff event on Monday, May 7, at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C., to mark the start of the annual North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week. The theme for 2012 is "Safety, What Every Business Needs."
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), an OSHA Alliance Program participant, and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) will underscore the importance of preventing injuries and illnesses during the annual 2012 NAOSH Week. The kickoff event will feature ASSE's 10th Annual "Safety-on-the-Job" poster contest in which children, ages 5-14, create illustrated safety posters with messages that could help their parents and other workers return home each day healthy and uninjured.
OSHA, ASSE, and CSSE will partner with Alliance Program participants and other organizations representing thousands of businesses to promote NAOSH Week. Assistant Secretary Michaels, ASSE President Terrie S. Norris, and CSSE Vice President Andrew Cooper will speak at the event. Visit the NAOSH Week Web site for more information, or contact Morgan Seuberling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reach more diverse groups of workers and employers, OSHA has translated many of its educational materials into Spanish and other languages.
Two of OSHA's signal publications are now available for order in Spanish through OSHA's Spanish Publications page. Derechos de los trabajadores (Workers' Rights) describes the rights to which workers are legally entitled under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Derechos y responsibilidades patronales al cabo de una inspectión de la OSHA (Employer Rights and Responsibilities Following an OSHA Inspection) is provided during an OSHA inspection and explains to employers what happens after the inspection.
OSHA also has publications available in Portuguese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, Polish, and Vietnamese. To order copies of these or any other OSHA publications, please call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit OSHA's Publications page.
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