|June 16, 2014 · Volume 13, Issue 12|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
OSHA and partners from industry, labor, academia and community organizations reached more than one million workers and 25,000 businesses last week during the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. From June 2 to 6, businesses paused their workday to focus on preventing falls in the workplace, the number one cause of death in the construction industry.
Clark Construction Group LLC hosted several events during the stand-down week, including a safety demonstration with Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels at the African American History Museum construction site in Washington, D.C. The United States Air Force also hosted stand-downs at bases worldwide, involving 650,000 workers. In Florida, NASCAR race car driver Greg Biffle demonstrated fall protection equipment with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab at the Daytona International Speedway, which is currently under construction.
Workers and employers who participated in a safety stand-down can print their official certificate of participation from OSHA, which will be available through the end of July. View pictures on the Department of Labor Flickr page and read the latest blogs for more information on preventing falls: Stopping Falls Saves Lives and 1 Million Workers Standing Down for Safety.
On June 6, the Department of Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA and other federal partners issued a status report on Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. The status report incorporates feedback from industry, state and local governments, and community stakeholders across the country and provides detailed information on the continued government coordination and collaboration to further reduce risks to chemical facility workers and operators, communities and responders.
President Obama issued the executive order on Aug. 1, 2013 in the wake of the devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas in April 2013. For more information, read the status report and blog.
OSHA has announced a new interactive webtool that will help small businesses identify and correct hazards in the workplace. The tool allows employers and workers to explore how to identify workplace hazards in the manufacturing and construction industries and address them with practical and effective solutions.
"Hazard identification is a critical part of creating an injury and illness prevention program that will keep workers safe and healthy on the job," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This new tool not only educates employers about how to take control of their workplaces and protect workers, it also demonstrates that following well-established safety practices is also good for the bottom line."
The tree care industry can be very hazardous, exposing workers to falls and falling objects, as well as transportation, electrocution and crushing hazards. A new OSHA hazard bulletin on tree care work is the first in a series of guidance materials for employers about the dangers to workers.
The bulletin describes two recent fatal incidents involving tree trimmers, identifying the hazards that contributed to their deaths and informing employers of necessary safety measures. In one incident, a tree care worker on the ground was struck and killed by a falling tree limb because his employer had not educated him about staying out of the drop zone. In another incident, a worker fell 65 feet when the trunk of the tree he was working on snapped in half. To learn more about tree care worker safety, read the news release or visit OSHA's Tree Care Industry Web page.
Fontarome Chemical Inc. has been cited for 23 safety and health violations—including seven willful, one repeat and 15 serious—many involving the failure to manage highly hazardous chemical processes. The citations carry proposed penalties of $449,680.
"It is clear that Fontarome Chemical continued to fail in its obligation to create a safe working environment for employees managing highly hazardous chemicals," said Chris Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "OSHA is committed to ensuring conditions are improved at the plant and that all cited safety violations have been corrected by the current company management."
The five willful process safety management violations include failing to establish safe operating procedures, develop safety information for equipment, correct problems and perform safety tests and inspections. Two additional willful violations involve failing to provide specific procedures to protect workers from dangerous machines during maintenance, to provide ventilation for emissions, and to remove and replace temporary wiring installed during the fire restoration project. Due to the nature and severity of the violations, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. For more information and to view the citations, read the press release.
Continental Manufacturing Co. Inc., doing business as Continental Mixer, has been cited by OSHA for 35 serious and repeat safety and health violations. OSHA’s inspection began in response to a complaint at the employer’s Houston facility. Proposed penalties total $286,200.
"By failing to identify and correct these numerous safety and health violations, Continental Mixer has exposed its workers to needless and unnecessary hazards, jeopardizing employees' safety," said Mark Briggs, OSHA’s area director in the Houston South Area Office.
Violations included failing to implement lockout/tagout to protect workers who service or maintain machines and failing to protect workers’ hearing by maintaining occupational noise exposure limits. Due to the repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Continental Manufacturing in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Read the news release for more information.
National discount chain Dollar Tree Stores Inc. has been cited by OSHA for repeatedly and willfully exposing workers to safety hazards and issued $217,000 in proposed penalties. OSHA began its inspection in November 2013 after receiving a complaint about dangerous conditions at a store located in Missoula, Mont.
"This employer's extensive history of ignoring basic safety standards establishes a clear pattern of intentional and complete disregard for employee safety," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Billings. "Employers have an obligation to keep their workers safe, and Dollar Tree keeps failing to do that."
OSHA issued the company willful violations for failing to keep exit routes free and unobstructed, exposing workers to struck-by hazards by storing materials in unsecured and unstable ways, and using space around electrical equipment for storage. A repeat violation was issued for failing to handle and store compressed helium gas cylinders securely. Read the news release for more information.
Gershenson Construction Co. Inc. has been cited by OSHA after a worker suffered a broken vertebra when he was struck by a partially suspended load of sewer pipe and knocked to the bottom of an unprotected 13-foot-deep trench. OSHA has cited the company for 11 safety violations, including one willful and 10 serious, for failing to protect workers from struck-by and trench cave-in hazards. Proposed penalties total $110,400.
"Failing to protect workers from struck-by hazards and allowing employees to work in a trench without protective systems is inexcusable and will not be tolerated," said Larry Davidson, OSHA's acting area director in St. Louis. "Being struck by vehicles and other objects is a leading cause of construction-related injuries and deaths. Gershenson Construction has a responsibility to protect workers from known hazards in the construction industry."
Other serious violations included lack of head protection and employee training, use of damage rigging equipment and allowing an excavator to operate within 10 feet of energized, overhead power lines. See the news release for more details.
Following the excavation death of a worker in Quincy, Fla., a United States court of appeals has ruled that his employer, Roberts Sand Co., could have prevented the fatal collapse by sloping the walls of a 23-foot-high clay pit. In August 2011, the employee was working alone at the site, using an excavator to scrape down clay from the wall of the pit when the wall collapsed on top of the excavator, killing him. Following an inspection, OSHA issued a general duty clause violation to the employer for failing to protect workers from recognized hazards. In a June 9, 2014 decision, the appeals court upheld OSHA's citations, finding that sloping the pit walls was a feasible abatement method that an expert in the industry should have taken into account when crafting a safety program.
To learn more about excavation safety, visit OSHA's Trenching and Excavation Web page.
Edstrom Industries Inc., a Wisconsin-based company that designs and manufactures automated animal water systems and related products, reached out to OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program for help improving workplace safety and health. Over several visits, consultants identified and helped Edstrom abate acid mist, air quality, chemical exposure, lead dust, machine guarding, noise, animal handling, electrical and other hazards.
Edstrom's dedication to protecting workers was rewarded in 2004, when it became the second company in Wisconsin to be accepted into OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. Acceptance into SHARP is an attainment of status that singles out the company among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. The company has continually maintained this standing, earning their fifth SHARP recertification in 2013. For more information, see the story on Erdstrom Industries' success.
On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with small business employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. To request a free consultation, visit OSHA's On-Site Consultation page or call 800-321-OSHA (6742) to find an office in your area.
Compliance officers from OSHA Area Offices in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin recently went through three days of hands-on training to enhance their knowledge of crane operation in construction. The training was provided by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 at the union's apprenticeship and skill improvement training site in Wilmington, Ill. Compliance officers participated in both classroom courses and field exercises to identify various types of equipment and increase their understanding of how cranes are erected, dismantled and operated. The OSHA staff also had the valuable experience of getting to operate tower and mobile cranes under the direction of the training site instructors.
To learn more about crane safety, visit OSHA’s Web page on Crane, Derrick and Hoist Safety.
The 2014 OSHA Oil and Gas Safety and Health Conference will take place on Dec. 2 and 3 in Houston. This semiannual conference gathers key management and executive decision makers to help industry leaders and OSHA work together to improve safety performance through cooperation, best practices, sharing knowledge, and building relationships. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels and Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. John Howard will join a roster of keynote speakers, panelists and educators headlining two days of more than 70 breakout sessions reflecting the conference theme: Exploration and Production. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.
On Wednesday June 4, OSHA announced that it will convene a Small Business Advocacy Review panel to choose representatives of small entities who will provide their perspectives on a possible Infectious Diseases standard. The SBAR panel will identify small business representatives potentially affected in order to obtain their advice and recommendations about the potential impacts of the Infectious Diseases rule. The panel's written report will be made publicly available.
OSHA is considering the need for a standard to ensure that employers establish comprehensive controls to protect workers from hazardous exposures to infectious diseases on the job. The rule is intended to cover a wide range of healthcare and related workplaces including: hospitals; ambulatory care centers; long-term and home health care facilities; laboratories, and medical waste handling facilities. Representatives of small entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit entities, and local governments involved in workplaces such as those listed above who are interested in participating should contact Charles McCormick by e-mail (McCormick.Charles@dol.gov) or by phone (202-693-1740).
OSHA has scheduled an informal stakeholder meeting to gather information as it considers developing a proposed standard for emergency response and preparedness. The meeting will be held July 30 in Washington, D.C.
OSHA issued a Request for Information on Sept 11, 2007, seeking comments from the public to evaluate what action, if any, the agency should take to further address emergency response and preparedness. Recent events, including the West, Texas, explosion that killed several emergency responders, and additional information gathered in response to the RFI show that responder health and safety is an ongoing concern. For more information, see the news release and Federal Register notice. The registration deadline is July 2, 2014.
In 2007, NIOSH launched its national Prevention through Design initiative with the goal of “designing out” or eliminating occupational hazards to protect workers from various industries. PtD involves anticipating hazards and changing the design of facilities, work methods and operations, processes, equipment and tools to mitigate hazards that could cause illnesses or injuries.
Together with partners from government, academia, industry and labor, NIOSH has released a new report, The State of the National Initiative on Prevention through Design, on the significant progress made in minimizing worker risks through research, practice, education and policy. To read the report, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2014-123. For more information on the Prevention through Design initiative, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ptd/.
OSHA has developed Safe Patient Handling: Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders in Nursing Homes (PDF*), a new brochure that addresses the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders among nursing home and residential care workers and explains the benefits of implementing safe patient handling programs. To learn more, read the press release.
Also now available online — in English and Spanish — is a new QuickCardTM, If You Work Around Lead, Don't Take it Home! This reference card explains the importance of protecting workers and their families from lead poisoning hazards by preventing workers from bringing this toxic metal home on their clothes, shoes, skin, hair and hands.
In addition, OSHA's Fall Prevention Training Guide: A Lesson Guide for Employers (*PDF) is now available in Spanish in PDF format as well as in EPUB and MOBI formats to help protect workers in construction from on-the-job hazards.
For workers in the electric power industries, OSHA has posted a fact sheet to help employers and workers understand the Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution and Electrical Protective Equipment Final Rule.
Also now available in EPUB and MOBI formats is OSHA's Stay Healthy and Safe While Giving Manicures and Pedicures: A Guide for Nail Salon Workers – in English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese.
To order quantities of these or any other OSHA materials, visit OSHA's Publications Web page or call the Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999.
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