|June 3, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 11||
In this issue
As residents recover from the damage caused by the storms in the Dallas–Fort Worth and Moore, Okla. areas, OSHA urges recovery workers, employers and the public to exercise caution during cleanup and recovery efforts following the tornadoes that touched down last month. OSHA provided on-site compliance assistance to workers and the public to let them know about the hazards they may encounter, as well as the steps they should take, to stay safe and healthy.
Hazards involved in cleanup work may include illness from exposure to contaminated water or food; heat exhaustion; downed electrical wires; carbon monoxide poisoning and electrical shock from portable generators; and fall and struck-by dangers from tree-trimming or working at heights. For more information, read the press release.
A Spanish-language summary of the hazards and necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe during hurricane cleanup and recovery operations is now available on the Spanish-language version of OSHA's Hurricane Preparedness and Response page.
Connie M. Knight, previously of Belle Chasse, La., was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison in New Orleans federal court late last month for providing fraudulent hazardous waste safety training in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill. Knight was ordered to pay victim restitution in the amount of $25,300.
"OSHA will not tolerate fraudulent training or unscrupulous activity when workers' health and lives may be at stake," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Inadequate training jeopardizes the safety and health of workers cleaning up hazardous waste sites."
On Jan. 24, 2013, Knight pleaded guilty to three felony criminal charges and one misdemeanor criminal charge for creating false identification documents and impersonating a federal official. Court documents explained how, in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Knight impersonated a high-ranking OSHA hazardous waste safety instructor and inspector in order to collect money from individuals who hoped to work on the cleanup effort that followed the spill. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Justice press release.
Construction jobsites employers throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, will participate in the Georgia Associated General Contractors' Safety Stand Down to raise awareness of job-related heat illnesses. This program was developed with the full support of OSHA. These worksites will conduct a one-hour safety stand-down at construction sites and workplaces on Tuesday, June 4, to raise awareness about the dangers of working in the summer heat. Workers will voluntarily stop work from 7 to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct safety training focused on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventive steps to take while working in the hot weather. To register for the event in Florida, visit www.safe305.com/Download.html. Registration for the event in other southeast states is available at
Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience serious illnesses such as heat exhaustion. In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,420 workers experienced heat-related illness and 61 workers died. Although outdoor workers in a variety of industries are susceptible to heat illness, those in construction and agriculture are the most vulnerable.
In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, a curriculum for workplace training, and a free smart phone app that allows users to calculate the Heat Index for their location and provides reminders about what to do to prevent heat illness.
Wallet-sized cards are now available in Portuguese, offering handy reminders about working safely in heat. The double-sided cards include OSHA contact information and feature smart phone-ready QR code links to worker safety and health resources on OSHA's Web site.
For information and resources on heat illness, visit OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention page. To order quantities of OSHA's heat illness educational materials in English or Spanish, call OSHA's Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999 or email Meilinger.Francis2@dol.gov.
OSHA has cited RWS Manufacturing Inc. for a total of 28 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Queensbury manufacturing plant. The company, which makes wood shavings for animal bedding, faces a total of $233,870 in proposed fines.
Inspections by OSHA's Albany Area Office, begun in November 2012 in response to a complaint, found hazardous accumulations of explosive, combustible wood dust on structural supports, pipes, fixtures, ductwork, equipment and floors. Workers were allowed to smoke in areas where excessive wood dust and wood shavings were present and the plant's dust collection system lacked a fully enclosed motor and grounded or bonded ductwork. The accumulation of wood shavings, as deep as 1 foot in some locations, also posed a fall and slipping hazard.
Additionally, the plant did not develop and implement a confined space entry program and provide training, warning signs and retrieval systems to protect workers in confined spaces. Read the news release for a full list of citations and information on combustible dust hazards and safeguards.
A Monro Muffler Brake Inc., facility in Portsmouth, N.H., has been cited by OSHA for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards. The automotive repair, maintenance and tire company faces proposed fines of $221,100.
The willful citation stems from workers who were exposed to potential electric shock from exposed, energized wires in a restroom. Five repeat citations were issued for defective work ladders, unsecured oxygen and acetylene cylinders, and inadequate eyewashing facilities for workers. Additionally, OSHA issued four serious citations for obstructed exit routes, improper storage and disposal of combustible material, damaged gas pressure regulators and inadequately grounded electrical equipment. Please see the news release for further details.
OSHA has cited A.W.T. World Trade Inc. for 28 safety and health violations, including failure to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals at the worksite. The complaint-driven inspection was initiated at the Chicago printing machinery manufacturer on Nov. 14, 2012. Proposed penalties total $119,700.
The 27 serious safety and health violations cited include the lack of a written hazard communication program; not providing employees information and training on hazardous chemicals present in the work environment; lack of machine guarding; failure to ensure use of eye protection during welding operations; failing to properly secure and store welding gas cylinders and hazards associated with the use and storage of flammables used in spray finishing operations. For more information, read the press release.
OSHA has ordered Enercon Services Inc. to pay more than $261,000 in damages and reinstate a senior engineer who was terminated in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Energy Reorganization Act. An investigation conducted by OSHA staff in Kansas City, Mo., found that Enercon wrongfully terminated the engineer for raising safety concerns during construction projects Enercon Services was part of at the Wolf Creek Generating Station, a licensee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. For more information, see the press release.
OSHA enforces the whistle-blower provisions of the ERA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, maritime and securities laws. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government.
OSHA will hold a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health from 1 – 4:30 p.m. EDT, June 6, 2013, in Washington, D.C. FACOSH advises the secretary of labor on all matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. The tentative agenda includes a discussion on an OPM status report regarding changes to the GS-0018, Safety and Occupational Health Management job series and updates from FACOSH subcommittees. See the news release for more details.
OSHA has also scheduled a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health from 1 - 5 p.m. EDT, June 11, 2013, in Washington, D.C. NACOSH advises the secretaries of labor and health and human services on occupational safety and health programs and policies. The meeting will focus on protecting temporary workers. The tentative agenda includes remarks from Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, and Dr. John Howard, director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and public comments. Read the news release for more information. Both meetings are open to the public.
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, a training fact sheet (PDF), 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 announced that it will propose to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.
OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work on Aug. 9, 2010. The standard requires crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After OSHA issued the standard, a number of parties raised concerns about the qualification/certification requirements. OSHA is considering addressing these concerns through a later separate rulemaking. The agency will propose to extend the compliance date so that the qualification/certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the construction industry. Read the news release for more information.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for one third of all work-related deaths in the industry. To stop these preventable tragedies, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Center for Construction Research and Training, kicking off a second year of the Campaign to Prevent Fatal Falls.
In a new blog post, OSHA Director of Construction Jim Maddux discusses the human and economic costs of falls, encouraging local employers, stakeholders and community and faith-based organizations to join the campaign to prevent falls. As he explains, "We know that the real difference to be made is in the communities where workers are getting hurt, and we can't do that alone."
To assist stakeholders in promoting the campaign and reducing fatal falls in their local areas, CPWR also has a new guide (PDF) on how to launch a local initiative. The CPWR website has a number of campaign resources including an interactive fatality map, training guides and handouts, as well as information on how to sign on as a campaign partner. To learn more about OSHA's Fall Prevention campaign, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls, and order or download fact sheets, posters, and other educational materials—including a new wallet card in Portuguese—by calling OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visiting OSHA's Publications page.
OSHA has issued a final rule that broadens the current exemption for digger derricks used in the electric-utility industry. The exemption has been expanded to include telecommunications work in addition to electric-utility work. This final rule provides a complete exemption from having to follow the requirements of Subpart CC of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The digger derricks exemption is part of the Cranes and Derricks final standard that was issued Aug. 9, 2010.
Digger derricks are pieces of equipment used to drill holes for utility poles. These digger derricks are commonly used by companies to place poles inside holes and attach transformers and other items to the poles. The rule becomes effective June 28, 2013.
OSHA's General Industry Digest is now available in English and Spanish as an e-publication that can be easily viewed on smart phones and tablets with reflowable and resizable text. This publication summarizes General Industry safety and health standards to help employers, supervisors, workers, and safety and health committee members and professionals learn about OSHA standards in the workplace. The Spanish-language version is part of OSHA's recent efforts to provide the country's diverse workforce with information in a language and vocabulary that they can understand. The General industry Digest is also available in English and Spanish in PDF format. All versions are available on OSHA's Publications page.
Wallet-sized cards are now available in Portuguese, offering handy reminders about protecting workers from falls on the job and working safely in heat. The double-sided cards include OSHA contact information and feature smart phone-ready QR code links to worker safety and health resources on OSHA's Web site.
OSHA publications are available to download at no cost by visiting OSHA's publications page. To order publications, call OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999.
OSHA has scheduled a three-day training event for federal agency staff responsible for keeping federal workers safe and healthy on the job. The training will be held July 30 - Aug. 1, 2013, at the OSHA Training Institute, 2020 South Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, Ill. Registration is through July 23, 2013. Registration forms, course descriptions, and other details are available at www.osha.gov/dep/fap/fedweek_fy13.html.
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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