|June 1, 2011 · Volume 10, Issue 11|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
|In this issue
OSHA issued AMD Industries Inc. 27 health citations and fined the company $1,247,400 after five unprotected and untrained workers allegedly were required to conduct asbestos removal, exposing them to this cancer-causing material. OSHA began its inspection of the company's Cicero, Ill., facility in response to a referral from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. OSHA investigators found that AMD Industries had commissioned a safety audit of its Cicero facility in 2002, which uncovered the presence of asbestos-containing materials on boilers, heating units and connected piping. In November 2010, the company began an asbestos removal project using in-house unprotected and untrained workers. Workers allegedly were exposed to materials containing 20-50 percent asbestos.
"Asbestos exposure can be deadly," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "AMD Industries knew it was assigning workers to asbestos removal work and failed to take the most basic safety precautions. This employer did not provide protective respirators or even warn the workers of the risk to their health from removing the material." See the news release for more information.
OSHA announced May 26 the forthcoming release of a final rule that streamlines and simplifies standards while reducing employer burdens. The rule is the third in OSHA's Standards Improvement Projects initiative, which helps keep the agency's standards up to date and better enables employers to comply with their regulatory obligations. The rule will update OSHA's standards and identify requirements for revision based on an agency review, comments from the public and recommendations from an Office of Management and Budget report. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels said, "OSHA estimates that the final rule, without reducing employee protection, will result in annual cost savings to employers exceeding $43 million and significant reductions in paperwork burden hours."
The rule builds on the success of SIP-Phase I published in 1998 and SIP-Phase II published in 2005. Regulatory text on the SIP-Phase III final rule will be published in the Federal Register. See the news release for more information.
OSHA announced May 23 the launch of a survey of private sector employers that will serve as a tool toward better designing future rules, compliance assistance and outreach efforts. As many as 19,000 employers nationwide will receive the Baseline Survey of Safety and Health Practices, which asks questions about workplace safety and health management practices.
The survey will be sent to private sector employers of all sizes and across all industries under OSHA's jurisdiction. Questions include whether respondents already have a safety management system, whether they perform annual inspections, who manages safety at their establishments and what kinds of hazards they encounter at their facilities. Participation in the survey is voluntary. OSHA expects the data collection phase to be completed by August. See the news release for more information.
Starting June 16, residential construction employers will have to provide workers with the conventional fall protection required by the construction fall protection standard, issued in 1994 (29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13)). Falls are the leading cause of death for workers in construction and this directive will provide residential construction workers with greater protection from being injured or killed on the job.
In December 2010, OSHA issued a new directive withdrawing an interim policy that allowed residential construction employers to use alternative procedures for worker fall protection. Under the new procedures, where residential construction employers find that traditional fall protection is not feasible or creates a greater hazard in residential environments, employers will still be allowed to implement alternative procedures that will assure worker protection after developing a written site-specific fall protection plan.
Since issuing the new directive, OSHA has developed a variety of training and compliance assistance materials in many formats that are available on OSHA's Residential Fall Protection page. The latest of these is an educational slide presentation that describes safety methods for preventing injuries and deaths from falls, and explains techniques currently used by employers during various stages of construction. These techniques involve the use of conventional fall protection systems including safety nets, guardrails, and personal fall arrest systems such as body harnesses, lanyards and lifelines. See the news release for more information.
OSHA also provides a free compliance assistance service for small businesses with fewer than 250 employees at any one facility, and no more than 500 employees nationwide. OSHA's on-site consultation services are separate from the agency's enforcement operations and do not result in penalties or citations. To locate the Consultation Office nearest you, visit OSHA's On-site Consultation Web page or call 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA). In addition, OSHA has compliance assistance specialists in area offices throughout the country. If you have questions for our compliance assistance specialists, visit our Web site or call 1-800-321-6742 to find the OSHA office nearest you.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels addressed America's young workers in a May 17 post on the Department of Labor blog site explaining their importance to our country's economy and OSHA's role in protecting them from workplace hazards. He said OSHA is reaching out to young workers because they are often more at risk of suffering an injury or an illness on the job than other workers due to their inexperience operating equipment, eagerness to please employers, or reluctance to speak up about dangerous work conditions. OSHA's Young Workers Web page provides information about workers' rights, work hour restrictions and prohibited jobs, as well as hazards related to common summer jobs such as landscaping, lifeguarding, and working in restaurants, parks and camps, or on farms.
The OSHA Recordkeeping Adviser is a new Web tool that helps employers understand their responsibilities to report and record work-related injuries and illnesses under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regulations. A set of questions assists in determining quickly whether an injury or illness is work-related, whether it needs to be recorded and which provisions of the regulations apply.
OSHA's report, The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: OSHA's Role in the Response, documents OSHA's activities within the Unified Command to protect the safety and health of workers involved in the response to last year's Gulf Coast oil spill. During the peak of the operations, more than 47,000 workers were involved in the response, and many had no prior experience with oil spill cleanup operations. The report is available, along with other resources, on the OSHA Web page, Keeping Workers Safe During Oil Spill Response and Cleanup Operations.
OSHA cited steel manufacturer Republic Engineered Products Inc. in Lorain, Ohio, for seven willful and three repeat safety violations, with penalties of $563,000, for failing to protect workers from fall hazards and failing to implement adequate lockout/tagout procedures to prevent injury from hazardous equipment. The company also has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses enforcement resources on employers that have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.
OSHA began the inspection of the Lorain facility after a worker who fell 9 feet from a coil transfer car was hospitalized with a broken pelvis. Willful violations were cited for exposing employees to falls from the car and an unguarded platform, and for failing to affix lockout/tagout devices to control the unexpected energizing of equipment. Repeat violations were cited for failure to train employees in lockout/tagout procedures; specify the procedural steps necessary to lock out electrical, hydraulic and gravitational energy sources for the coil transfer car; and isolate all hazardous energy sources. See the news release for more information.
When Cameron Glass Inc. in Broken Arrow, Okla., was experiencing frequent workplace safety incidents, the small business manufacturer of fabricated glass products contacted OSHA for help improving the company's safety and health management program. The company set up an appointment with the Oklahoma Labor Department's On-site Consultation Program. During the on-site consultation walkthrough, consultants identified multiple high hazards needing correction. These included several machines that needed additional guarding, pinch points on machinery that needed to be eliminated, slip and water hazards, broken electrical outlets, a loose electrical connection, and excessive noise levels that required hearing protection.
The consultation team worked with Cameron to correct all identified safety and health hazards and to improve elements of the safety and health management programs. Cameron's greatly improved safety and health awareness led to the company being approved for certification in OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. According to Cameron's Safety Manager, the site's strategic integration of SHARP's criteria, including management's commitment to implementing an exemplary safety system shaped by employees, has been the key to reducing workplace injuries and illness at the site. See the success story for more information.
OSHA and the National Council of La Raza signed an alliance May 20 that will provide information, guidance and access to health and safety training resources to reach low-wage, limited basic education, and other vulnerable worker populations in the construction, healthcare, service and green industries. OSHA and NCLR will use the Alliance to connect with vulnerable and hard-to-reach workers through NCLR's affiliates. Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths. See the news release for more information.
OSHA and the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division will host the Southern New Jersey Action Summit for Latino and Immigrant Workers June 5 in Bridgeton, N.J. The summit will bring together workers and representatives from faith-based and community organizations, worker organizations, consulates and government to discuss workplace safety and health issues, workplace wage and hour issues, worker rights and how to voice concerns when those rights are violated. Current strategies and collaborative efforts to reach the Latino worker population will also be shared. To address the particular needs of the area's Latino workforce, the summit will focus on migrant- and farmworker-related issues. Information related to other industries such as construction, landscaping and restaurants will also be provided. See the flyer for more information.
OSHA will convene a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health June 7 at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. The committee will welcome new member Edward A. Hamilton Sr., Director of Facilities and Administrative Services Staff for the U.S. Department of Justice. Among the issues for discussion are OSHA's outreach and education campaign to prevent heat illness in outdoor workers and its application to federal workers. The committee advises the Secretary of Labor on occupational safety and health issues related to federal employees, including advice on how to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses within the federal workforce. FACOSH members also recommend methods for establishing and maintaining effective occupational safety and health programs in each federal department and agency.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels addressed 2,000 attendees of the American Industrial Hygiene Association's 2011 Conference and Exposition in Portland, Ore., to share the agency's accomplishments and future goals to protect workers from occupational health hazards. Michaels opened the May 18 general session by showing the audience a short video that highlights OSHA successes. After the video presentation, Michaels discussed OSHA's history of creating standards that save workers' lives without placing a financial burden on employers or stifling innovation and industry.
The Sustainable Workplace Alliance is conducting free training classes, developed with funding from an OSHA Susan Harwood Targeted Topic Training Grant, about hazards involved in working with Spray Polyurethane Foam. This weather insulating and sealing agent contains isocyanates, potential human carcinogens that can cause work-related asthma. The five half-day training classes will provide in-depth information about the hazards involved in the use of Spray Polyurethane Foam and how to protect the health and safety of employees working with it. Each attendee will receive four PowerPoint presentations on CD, written safety programs, handouts and other valuable training-related tools--all available in English and Spanish. Classes will take place June-September in Dallas, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, and Orlando. For more information or to register, visit the Sustainable Workplace Alliance Web site.
The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations to provide training and education programs for employers and workers on the recognition, avoidance and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces.
OSHA has initiated a national outreach campaign to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat. OSHA is leveraging relationships with other state and local partners, employers, trade organizations, unions, community groups, educational institutions and healthcare professionals to disseminate training materials across the country with a very simple message: "water, rest and shade."
OSHA's new Heat Illness Campaign Web page provides educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Multiple copies of publications can be ordered from OSHA's Web site. Additionally, OSHA is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on weather service alerts that will incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the United States. NOAA is also including pertinent worker safety information on its Heat Watch Web page.
OSHA partnered May 27 with the National Weather Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to join the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention's "Don't Fry Day" campaign.
"Don't Fry Day" is an annual event--which takes place on the Friday before Memorial Day--that seeks assistance from the news media to help educate the public about the danger of extreme heat and ultraviolet radiation. See the public information statement from the National Weather Service for more information.
Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of materials and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for resources including a short video using old and new footage to highlight key moments in the agency's history, an interactive timeline and a commemoration of the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. The page also links to an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels as well as a video of his participation in a panel discussion on the nation's progress in worker safety and health over the past forty years and the challenges that lie ahead.
In celebration of OSHA's 40th anniversary, the agency is holding a photo contest promoting worker safety. Picture It!: Safe Workplaces for Everyone challenges anyone with a passion for photography to capture an image of workplace safety and health and share it with OSHA. See the contest Web site for more information.