|May 1, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 9|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
In an official proclamation, President Barack Obama declared April 28, 2013 to be Workers' Memorial Day. The President called upon all Americans to participate in ceremonies and activities in memory of those killed or injured due to unsafe working conditions.
"Tragically, thousands of American workers die on the job each year, and millions more suffer work-related injuries or illnesses," said President Barack Obama. "On Workers' Memorial Day, we honor them, and we reaffirm that no one should have to put their life on the line to bring home a paycheck." Read more in the Presidential Proclamation.
To commemorate Workers' Memorial Day, OSHA this week hosted an observance at the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters to honor workers who have died on the job and renew a commitment to making work sites across the country safer.
"We can and we must save more lives – with even stronger enforcement, even better training and outreach," Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris said in his address. "We must use all our tools to protect every worker – whether English is their first language or not, whether they started yesterday or 30 years ago, whether they're a full-time employee or a temporary or contingent worker."
"On Workers' Memorial Day, we mourn the loss of the thousands of workers who die each year on the job from preventable hazards," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Many of those killed and injured are temporary workers who often perform the most dangerous jobs have limited English proficiency and are not receiving the training and protective measures required. Workers must be safe, whether they’ve been on the job for one day or for 25 years."
As part of a panel discussion, Michaels joined Chris Owens, executive director of National Employment Law Project, and Alma Couverthie, director of the Welcome Center and Education at CASA de Maryland, to discuss the importance of protecting temporary workers on the job.
Family members of fallen workers reflected on the lives of their lost loved ones. Danielle Dole spoke about her father, Sherman Lynn Holmes, who was struck and killed by a tree in 2011 while working for a logging company in Michigan. Bridgette Hubble Hester spoke about her husband, Jonce Hubble, a telecommunications tower climber in Alabama. Hubble and a coworker were both killed in 2010 when a bucket truck backed into the guyed wires of a communications tower on which he and his coworkers were working. Both men were killed when the tower collapsed.
Dole and Hester asked that their memories be honored through a renewed commitment to protecting the safety and health of workers, echoing Mother Jones' call to "Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living."
The ceremony ended with a moment of silence as the families, guests and Department of Labor staff gathered around the tree planted in Washington, D.C., two years ago as a memorial to America's fallen workers.
April 28 also marked the 42nd anniversary of OSHA and the dramatic improvements in workplace safety and health over OSHA's first four decades. In Workers' Memorial Day events around the country, OSHA is honoring the memories of those killed, disabled, injured or made sick by their jobs. To view pictures and learn more about local Workers' Memorial Day ceremonies in states across the country, visit OSHA's Workers' Memorial Day page.
OSHA has announced an initiative to further protect temporary employees from workplace hazards.
A memorandum sent to the agency’s regional administrators directs field inspectors to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Inspectors will denote when temporary workers are exposed to safety and health violations and assess whether temporary workers received required training in a language and vocabulary they could understand. The memo, which can be viewed at http://s.dol.gov/ZM, underscores the duty of employers to protect all workers from hazards.
In addition, OSHA has begun working with the American Staffing Association and employers that use staffing agencies, to promote best practices ensuring that temporary workers are protected from job hazards.
In recent months, OSHA has received a series of reports about temporary workers suffering fatal injuries – many during their first days on a job.
Last week, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries about workers killed on the job in 2011. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 542 – or 12 percent – of the 4,693 fatal work injuries reported. Hispanic/Latino contractors accounted for 28 percent of fatal work injuries among contractors, well above their 16 percent share of the overall fatal work injury total for the year. Additional details are available at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/contractor2011.pdf.
Reps. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) co-sponsored a resolution commemorating Workers' Memorial Day to honor and remember the workers who have been killed or injured in the workplace. Read the text of the bill here.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pilgrim's Pride Corp. with eight safety violations following the death of a worker who became caught in an unguarded hopper while attempting to remove a piece of cardboard at the company's facility in Canton. Proposed penalties total $58,755.
The company was cited for failing to guard machines to protect workers from being crushed by machine parts, and repeat violations were cited for failing to follow OSHA's lock out/tag out standard to protect workers from accidental start-up of machines. For a complete list of citations issued, read the press release.
OSHA has cited First Choice Energy of Minot with nine serious safety violations for exposing workers to unsafe conditions at an oil field drilling and fluid disposal operation in Stanley. The inspection was prompted when a worker was killed after being caught in the agitator of an oil field vacuum truck storage tank on March 14. Proposed penalties total $33,000.
Citations involve not properly protecting workers from open pit fall hazards, lack of energy control and lockout/tagout procedures and equipment, failing to conduct annual inspections of energy control procedures and to train workers on such procedures. Five of the nine citations involve violations of OSHA's confined space requirements. For more information on other citations issued, read the press release.
OSHA cited Prestige Industries LLC for safety violations that include exposing workers to unguarded machinery and electrical hazards at its commercial laundry facility in North Bergen. OSHA's October 2012 investigation was initiated in response to a complaint and resulted in $219,000 in proposed penalties.
The repeat violations, carrying a $185,500 penalty, include the company's failure to protect workers from unguarded machinery, establish a lockout/tagout program and procedures for controlling energy sources, and provide energy control training for workers who perform maintenance on machines. The same violations were cited in 2012 following a worker's death after being caught in an unguarded machine at its Bayshore, N.Y., facility.
The serious violations, with a $33,500 penalty, were due to electrical hazards; an inadequate confined space program and failure to identify permit required confined spaces; and no hazard communication program, training and material safety data sheets. For more information, read the press release.
OSHA's newest educational resource on safe ladder use is now accessible for mobile devices. The bilingual English-Spanish booklet, "Falling off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely," is the agency's first e-publication and can be downloaded and read on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices as well as on desktop and laptop computers. 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 safety precautions, featuring simple illustrations and plain language writing.
As part of its Alliance with OSHA, the Society of Chemical Hazard Communication will host a free webinar from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 25, 2013. OSHA's presentation, "Hazard Communication 2012: One Year of Implementation," will focus on classification, labeling, safety data sheets and training, as well as how manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers can meet the compliance requirements during the transition period. Register by July 24 to participate.
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'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.
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 that reviews the new training requirements, new QuickCards that review the new pictogram label requirements and a brief on labels and pictograms.
Two short, dramatic worker safety videos presenting the hazard of fatal falls on the job are now available online. Produced by the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program, with support from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the videos illustrate true stories about the death of a worker who fell through a skylight and a solar installer who fell off a roof. The videos explain the events that led up to these deaths and what could have been done to prevent them. The five-minute videos will be used in worker trainings to prevent similar deaths. Watch the skylight video and the solar installer video.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and OSHA is working with NIOSH 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.
With the construction season underway, OSHA Harwood grantees like the American Road and Transportation Builders Association are spreading the word about OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign. A recent article in ARTBA's Transportation Builder magazine puts a face on the statistic of approximately 10,000 construction workers who are injured each year in falls from heights, more than 200 of them fatally.
The author shares the story of his brother-in-law, Jeff, a construction worker who at 26 years old was permanently disabled after falling from scaffolding that collapsed underneath him. Although Jeff's broken bones eventually healed, he was left in constant pain that impacted his quality of life, his family and his income for decades. Over time, the pain medication he was prescribed damaged his heart and kidneys. The toll on Jeff's body eventually grew too great, and he died at the age of only 57. The article promotes OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign as a way to show employers and workers how to prevent more tragedies like Jeff's.
OSHA issued a final rule that applies the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to demolition work and underground construction. Application of this rule will protect workers from hazards associated with hoisting equipment used during construction activities.
This final rule, which becomes effective May 23, 2013, applies the same crane rules to underground construction and demolition that are already being used by other construction sectors, and streamlines OSHA's standards by eliminating the separate cranes and derricks standard currently used for underground and demolition work. The rule also corrects errors made to the underground construction and demolition standards in the 2010 rulemaking. See the news release for more information and a link to the Federal Register notice.
OSHA and the Consulate of El Salvador in Atlanta, Ga., have formed an Alliance to protect the safety and health of workers in the Southeastern United States.
The Alliance agreement (y en Español) establishes a collaborative relationship to provide information, guidance and access to education and training resources for El Salvadoran nationals working in OSHA’s Region IV, which includes Georgia and seven surrounding states. The focus of this combined outreach effort will be to promote workers’ rights to a safe and healthful workplace, particularly with regards to preventing exposure to fall, amputation and trenching and excavation dangers, as well as electrical hazards, and to help them understand the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
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. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.
Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported. Workplace violence can strike anywhere, anytime, and no one is immune. On May 15, OSHA and the University of Texas at Arlington OSHA Education Center will offer a four-hour seminar on workplace violence prevention.
The event will include guest speakers, an OSHA update and emergency action planning, prevention techniques and active shooter preparedness. The seminar is designed to provide best practices to prevent workplace violence and strategies when encountering an active shooter scenario. Participants may join in person at the University of Texas at Arlington or remotely via the web at no cost. Registration information is available at www.uta.edu/ded/wpv/.
First recognized by OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program in 2010, the Long Trail Brewing Company welcomes another brewery to the program. Long Trail subsidiary Otter Creek Brewing Company followed its parent company's example and raised the SHARP flag at their Middlebury, Vt., brewery. Long Trail and Otter Creek are two of only three breweries in the country actively participating in SHARP. SHARP recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP singles it out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
In 2012, Long Trail and Otter Creek were able to achieve SHARP recognition by working with OSHA's On-site Consultation Program. The On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential services to small and medium-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. Prior to their on-site consultations, Long Trail and Otter Creek did not have an injury and illness prevention program in place to protect their workers. As the business expanded, the senior management realized that the lack of such a program would hinder its future growth and place employees at risk. In less than four years of working with the On-site Consultation Program, Long Trail successfully implemented injury and illness prevention programs at both breweries and transformed the companies' attitude toward workplace safety. For more information, see the Long Trail Brewing Company success story.
OSHA will hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 23-24, 2013, in Washington, D.C. 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.
The full committee agenda includes remarks from Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health and updates from the Directorate of Construction. In addition, the committee will consider six items from the proposed Standards Improvement Project IV and discuss occupational exposure to beryllium, two possible technical amendments and corrections to the Cranes and Derricks standards, the Federal Agency Procurement Construction, Health and Safety Checklist, and the two-hour introduction to the OSHA 10- and 30-hour training courses. Read the news release for additional details.
OSHA's new Toluene Safety and Health Topics Page provides resources to educate employers and workers about the health hazards associated with toluene and how to prevent them. Toluene, a colorless liquid typically used in a mixture with other solvents and chemicals such as paint pigments, can cause serious health problems in workers who are exposed to it.
Toluene exposures have been studied in nail salons and printing establishments, auto repair, and construction activities. Workers can be exposed to toluene by breathing it in, getting it on their skin, getting it splashed into their eyes, or swallowing it. Toluene affects the central nervous system, eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver, kidneys. OSHA’s toluene Web page contains information on health hazards and protective measures, occupational exposure limits, OSHA standards, risk assessment and other resources.
To help keep workers in the maritime industry safe and healthy on the job, three new OSHA publications are now available — including a new guidance document describing "Ventilation in Shipyard Employment," a QuickCard on "Top/Side Handler Safety in Marine Terminals," and a fact sheet on "Working Safely While Repairing Intermodal Containers in Marine Terminals." These resources are available online on OSHA's Maritime Industry publications page.
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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