|June 15, 2011 · Volume 10, Issue 12|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
OSHA announced June 9 a three-month enforcement phase-in period to allow residential construction employers to come into compliance with the agency's new directive to provide residential construction workers with fall protection. During the phase-in period June 16-September 15, if an employer is in full compliance with the old directive (STD 03-00-001), OSHA will not issue citations, but will instead issue a hazard alert letter informing the employer of the feasible methods that can be used to comply with OSHA's fall protection standard or implement a written fall protection plan. If the employer's practices do not meet the requirements set in the old directive, OSHA will issue appropriate citations. If an employer fails to implement the fall protection measures outlined in a hazard alert letter, and OSHA finds violations involving the same hazards during a subsequent inspection of one of the employer's workplaces, the Area Office will issue appropriate citations.
OSHA's Residential Fall Protection Web page has many guidance products, including a fall protection slide show*, to help employers comply with the new directive. Employers are also encouraged to take full advantage of OSHA's On-site Consultation Program, which provides free compliance assistance services, or contact their local OSHA Area Office to speak with a Compliance Assistance Specialist. See the news release for more information.
OSHA is soliciting applications for $4.7 million in Susan Harwood Safety and Health Training Grants. The grants are available to nonprofit organizations to provide safety and health training and education for workers and employers. Nonprofit organizations, including qualifying community and faith-based organizations, employer associations and labor unions, that are not an agency of a state or local government, are eligible to apply. Additionally, state or local government-supported institutions of higher education are eligible to apply in accordance with 29CFR Part 95.
"The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that businesses and workers are fully aware of health and safety rules," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The programs funded by these grants will supply small businesses, hard-to-reach workers and those in high-hazard industries, with the knowledge and tools they need to support safe and healthful workplaces."
There are four types of safety and health training grants: Capacity Building Pilot; Capacity Building Developmental; Targeted Topic Training and Training and Educational Materials Development. The grants focus on training workers and employers to recognize workplace hazards and appropriate control measures, and to understand their rights and responsibilities under OSHA regulations and standards. Targeted topic areas for the grant application include safe bin entry in grain handling operations, crane safety, fall protection, chemical exposure/hazardous communication, and shipyard safety hazards. See the news release for more information on the grants and how to apply.
OSHA fined Phenix Lumber Co. and its principal, John M. Dudley, for egregious and other safety violations at the company's Phenix City, Ala., facility, including exposing employees to amputation and fall hazards. Prior to these citations, Phenix Lumber was cited 77 times by OSHA for serious safety and health violations since 2007.
“Phenix Lumber continues to put workers at risk by choosing not to implement safety measures that would prevent serious injuries to their employees,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
OSHA began an inspection Dec. 15, 2010, in response to a complaint that employees working in the planer mill were exposed to amputation hazards while maintaining, cleaning and clearing jams on pieces of machinery that did not have their energy sources locked out to prevent their unexpected start up. Two months later, OSHA received a second complaint that an employee had suffered a partial finger amputation while clearing a piece of machinery that had not been locked out. At the opening of an inspection following the second complaint, the compliance officer learned of another employee who had just suffered a severe hand injury while working on unguarded machinery. Phenix Lumber had been cited numerous times during the past four years for allowing employees to work on unguarded machinery while it was operating.
OSHA issued Phenix Lumber citations for willful violations that included failing to properly shut down and lock out machinery before employees were required to perform tasks such as clearing jams and cleaning. These failures exposed employees to amputation hazards, as well as to the possibility of being caught between or struck by pieces of the machinery and falling lumber. The employer also failed to train employees who performed this work on the hazards and how to shut down and lock out the machinery so that they could perform their tasks safely. In addition, OSHA found that the employer willfully exposed a worker to fall hazards while working from the top of a machine, failed to issue locks to employees as required by the lockout standard, and failed to follow established lockout/tagout procedures.
OSHA is proposing that the company be included in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which is intended to focus on employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. See the news release for more information.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels signed an agreement renewing OSHA's strategic partnership with Ford Motor Co., the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) and Automotive Component Holdings (ACH) LLC, and welcoming the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a new partner.
"OSHA's partnership with Ford and the UAW has helped significantly reduce the frequency and severity of worker injuries," said Michaels. "The partnership is a win-win for management and labor. It contributes to Ford's competitiveness in the global economy while protecting the safety and health of thousands of workers."
The goal of this strategic partnership is to prevent occupational fatalities, injuries and illnesses at participating Ford Motor Co. and ACH locations in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and New York. The safety agreement covers 25 Ford facilities and three ACH facilities. In the last decade, participating facilities reduced occupational injuries and illness by 74 percent and reduced the days workers must take off to recover from incidents by 88 percent. See the news release for more information.
OSHA issued a new directive establishing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for the Primary Metals Industries. The purpose of this NEP is to identify and reduce or eliminate worker exposures to harmful chemical and physical hazards in primary metals industries that extract and refine metals. Among these establishments are those that manufacture nails, insulated wires and cables, steel piping, and copper and aluminum products. Workers exposed to various substances found in these industries can suffer damage to the eyes, nose, throat and skin and can experience difficulty breathing and chest and joint pain. Overexposures can also lead to death.
The goals of the NEP include minimizing or eliminating exposure to chemical hazards and physical hazards such as noise and heat. See the news release for more information on this NEP. For more information on the hazards of various metals and solutions to control exposures, visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics and Publications pages on Toxic Metals.
OSHA will hold a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) June 21-22, at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. NACOSH, an advisory committee established under the OSH Act of 1970, has advised the secretaries of labor, and health and human services on worker safety issues for nearly 40 years.
The NACOSH agenda includes remarks from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The agenda also includes discussions on injury and illness prevention programs, recordkeeping issues and a discussion with NIOSH on chemical policy. The Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and Recordkeeping work groups will meet June 21, and the full committee will meet June 22. See the news release for more information.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced June 7 the appointment of eight new members to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH). The 15 member committee advises the assistant secretary for occupational safety and health on construction standards and policy matters. ACCSH members serve two-year terms and represent the interests of the public, employers, employees and government. The eight newly appointed members join seven re-appointed members. The new members are:Public
See the news release for more information.
OSHA fined roofing contractor Lessard Brothers Construction Inc. $243,360 for egregious willful, serious and repeat violations following OSHA's inspection of a Lewiston, Maine, worksite. OSHA previously cited Lessard Brothers, and its predecessor Lessard Roofing & Siding Inc., 10 times for fall protection violations at Maine worksites.
Lessard employees were exposed to potentially life-threatening falls of 23 feet while working without fall protection on a steep-pitched roof. Due to the company's knowledge of the hazard, along with its extensive history of OSHA violations, inspectors issued Lessard four egregious willful citations for the lack of fall protection. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. In addition to the egregious willful citations, OSHA issued Lessard two serious citations for an electrical hazard and for failing to train workers on electrical hazards and fall protection. The company was also issued one repeat citation for lack of hard hat protection. This significant enforcement action qualifies Lessard Brothers Construction Inc. for OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. See the news release for more information.
OSHA fined Lakeland Feed and Supply $122,500 and issued the company 30 citations for exposing workers to hazards including suffocation in grain bins at its Hamilton, Mont., facility. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's Regional Emphasis Program that targets grain handling establishments in the state.
Serious violations included employees walking on grain in the bins; not locking out augers when employees enter the bins; platforms missing guarding; the lack of an emergency evacuation plan and no fire alarm system; high levels of potentially explosive dust; exposed live electrical lines; and improper electrical wiring for high dust areas.
Since 2009, OSHA has issued fines exceeding $100,000 per employer to grain operators across the country following preventable fatalities and injuries. In addition to enforcement actions, OSHA sent a notification letter in August 2010 and another in February 2011 to a total of more than 13,000 grain elevator operators warning them of proper safety precautions. See the news release for more information.
OSHA has created a new Web page to help workers and employers prepare for a tornado and protect themselves after a tornado occurs. Tornado Preparedness and Response offers guidance on creating shelter-in-place and personnel accountability plans, developing supply kits and monitoring warning signs. Visitors to the page will also find information on precautions to take in the aftermath of a tornado, as well as OSHA QuickCards and Fact Sheets for the hazards most common in tornado-impacted areas.
The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) met June 7 to discuss safety and health issues of importance to federal agencies. During the meeting, the Emerging Issues subcommittee reported to FACOSH members on their progress in reviewing the existing permissible exposure limits for hazardous substances. The Training Subcommittee reported on the effectiveness of efforts to provide federal agencies with qualified candidates for occupational safety and health positions and made recommendations on issues including the development of training requirements for all federal employees and personnel responsible for building operations, maintenance, safety, and design. OSHA and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration staff members provided presentations on distracted driving, heat-related illness prevention and indoor air quality.
A bookmark explaining young workers' rights is now available for order from the OSHA Publications Web Page. The bookmark has information about workers' rights, work hour restrictions and prohibited jobs, as well as work hazards related to common summer jobs. Additional information on these topics is available on OSHA's Young Workers Web page.
More than 100 workers, advocates and representatives from community-based organizations participated June 6 in the Southern New Jersey Action Summit for Latino/Immigrant Workers in Bridgeton. The event, co-hosted by OSHA, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, Comite de Apoyo A Los Trabajadores Agricolas, the Mexican Consulate General and Camden's Catholic Diocese, provided attendees information about workplace safety and fair wages. Participants learned about employer responsibilities under federal law and how to file a complaint if their rights have been violated. OSHA emphasized precautions related to extreme heat when working outdoors.
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Richard De Angelis, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999.
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