August 15, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 16
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A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.
 
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In this issue

Wal-Mart signs corporate-wide settlement agreement
Changes to recordkeeping rule improve tracking of federal workplace injuries, illnesses
Republic Steel fined $1.1 million for failing to protect workers
Hawaii food warehouse cited with 63 health and safety violations
Texas wood manufacturer cited for failing to guard machines
Heat illness prevention hits airwaves, app downloads exceed 100,000
Campaign to prevent fatal falls picks up momentum with safety stand-downs across the country
Proposed rule to amend On-site Consultation Program withdrawn
Study finds unsafe levels of formaldehyde exposure from hair smoothing product
Maine manufacturer achieves SHARP status after free on-site consultation
@USDOL reaches 100K Twitter followers
New OSHA resources available
Better health insurance choices coming in October 2013
Job openings

Wal-Mart signs corporate-wide settlement with US Labor Department

store aisle

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has entered into a corporate-wide settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to improve safety and health conditions in all 2,857 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores under federal jurisdiction. The settlement, which resolves two enforcement cases that began in 2011, includes provisions for the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer to enhance safety and health practices and training related to trash compactors, cleaning chemicals and hazard communications corporate-wide. See the news release for additional details.

The Wal-Mart settlement agreement lays out simple, clear safety procedures for the operation and maintenance of trash compactors to ensure that workers are kept safe. For example, trash compactors must remain locked while not in use, and may not be operated except under the supervision of a trained manager or other trained, designated monitor. The agreement also establishes safe practices for workers who operate trash compactors. OSHA encourages any company with employees who work with trash compactors to review the best practices laid out in the settlement.


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Changes to recordkeeping rule for federal agencies expected to improve tracking of workplace injuries, illnesses

OSHA has issued a final rule that requires all federal agencies to submit their OSHA-required injury and illness data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics every year. This data will allow OSHA to analyze the injuries and illnesses that occur among the more than two million federal agency workers and develop training and inspection programs to respond to the hazards identified. The revised recordkeeping rule also includes amending the date when agencies must submit their annual reports to the secretary of labor and the date when the secretary must submit a report to the president. Read the news release for details on other federal
agency recordkeeping requirements.

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Republic Steel fined $1.1 million for failing to protect workers from falls, other safety violations

OSHA has cited Republic Steel for 24 safety violations carrying fines of $1,138,500. The Canton, Ohio-based steel manufacturing plant was inspected after OSHA received a formal complaint alleging inadequate fall protection and other unsafe practices that exposed workers to various hazards in the plant's melt shop. OSHA discovered during the inspection that two workers had been seriously injured from falls in 2012. The company has a history of failing to address fall hazards and will remain in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Read the news release for a complete list of citations.

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Hawaii refrigerated food warehouse cited with 63 health and safety violations including blocked exits

OSHA and the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations' Occupational Safety and Health Division has cited Unicold Corp. in Honolulu with 63 health and safety violations. Unicold and nine other tenants who occupy the warehouse were cited for violations including locked and sealed exit doors, failure to keep exit routes free and unobstructed and failure to label exit routes and post signs clearly indicating the route to the nearest exit. The employers face $251,330 in total proposed fines following joint inspections conducted under OSHA's National Emphasis Program for facilities with highly hazardous chemicals. See the news release for a complete list of citations.

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Texas wood manufacturer cited for failing to guard machines, exposing workers to amputations

Lone Star Reel Corp. in McKinney, Texas, has been cited by OSHA for failing to guard machinery and exposing workers to amputation hazards. OSHA's Dallas Area Office conducted a programmed inspection in February under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program. Violations cited include failing to provide workers with documented procedures on how to control potentially hazardous energy sources during machine or equipment maintenance and ensure that points of machine operations were guarded to prevent the exposure of any body parts in the danger zone during operation cycles. Proposed penalties total $148,400. Read the news release for more details.

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Heat illness prevention hits airwaves, app downloads exceed 100,000

OSHA compliance officer Magnolia Torres and Carlos Giralt Cabrales discuss OSHA's heat and fall prevention campaigns on Spanish-language Radio Unika.
Magnolia Torres, OSHA compliance officer in Philadelphia (right) and Carlos Giralt Cabrales, consul of Mexico in Philadelphia (left), discuss OSHA's heat and fall prevention campaigns July 31 on Spanish-language Radio Unika.

OSHA is taking its Water-Rest-Shade message to the airwaves and using technology to help employers protect outdoor workers from heat illness. In cities like Philadelphia and Little Rock, OSHA staff are speaking on English- and Spanish-language radio and TV about heat illness and workers' rights to safe workplaces. Read more here. Meanwhile, during four hot weeks in July, 18,661 people downloaded OSHA's heat safety app — bringing the total number of downloads to 103,530 since the app's launch two years ago. For more information and resources, see OSHA's Heat Campaign Web page (and en español).

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Campaign to prevent fatal falls picks up momentum with safety stand-downs across the country

One hundred fifty workers with Balfour Beatty Construction learn about fall prevention at safety stand-down.
During the Aug. 6 safety stand-down, 150 workers with Balfour Beatty Construction learn about fall prevention at a Miami construction site.

In an extensive fall prevention safety stand-down on Aug. 6 across eight Southeastern states, OSHA partnered with trade, business and civic groups to spread the word to Plan-Provide-Train to keep workers safe. More than 1,000 employers in the region held voluntary stand-downs, training more than 36,000 workers on how to stay safe while working on roofs, scaffolding and ladders.

For those in the Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska areas, a fall prevention stand-down is coming up on Sept. 3. To participate, register online or contact Brian Wood or Peggy Taylor for more information. Free OSHA fall prevention educational and training resources are available at www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

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Proposed rule to amend On-site Consultation Program withdrawn

On-site Consultation Program

OSHA has announced its decision to withdraw a proposed rule to amend its regulations for the federally-funded On-site Consultation Program. The agency is withdrawing the proposed rule based on feedback from stakeholders who expressed concerns that proposed changes, though relatively minor, might discourage employers from participating in the program. For more information, read the press release and see the Federal Register notice on the withdrawal of the proposed rule.

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New study finds hair smoothing product can expose salon workers and clients to unsafe levels of formaldehyde

Flat Iron

According to a recently published study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, both salon workers and their customers can be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde during the application of hair smoothing products. In particular, the University of California Berkeley researchers found that "using Brazilian Blowout, without proper engineering controls like local exhaust ventilation, could expose hairdressers and their clients to formaldehyde at levels above the short-term occupational exposure limits." To learn more about the findings, view the full study (PDF*) in JOEH. Read OSHA's Hazard Alert on formaldehyde in hair smoothers and visit OSHA's Hair Salon Safety Web page for more information.

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Maine manufacturer looking SHARP after free On-site Consultation Program helps find and fix workplace hazards

Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). An OSHA Cooperative Program

Peavey Manufacturing Co. of Eddington, Maine, has been certified as a model for worksite safety and health through OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. The manufacturer of logging and tree trimming tools, which employs 30 workers, took advantage of OSHA's free, state-operated On-site Consultation Program to resolve hazards with machine guarding, noise and wood dust, reduce costs associated with worker injuries, and improve the company's safety record. SHARP recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. 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.

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Twitter and Facebook

@USDOL reaches 100K followers: Follow us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook

Thanks for following and retweeting! With your support, the Department of Labor has reached more than 100,000 followers on Twitter. Continue following for up-to-the-minute OSHA information and resources. Visit the DOL Facebook page and follow @USDOL on Twitter.


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New OSHA resources available

Recently published OSHA educational resources include a new QuickCard (PDF*) on precautions for firefighters to prevent combustible dust explosions and a new OSHA brief (PDF*) for physicians on the dangers of worker exposure to cadmium.

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Better health insurance choices coming in October 2013

HealthCare.gov: Take health care into your own hands  Learn More

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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Job openings

Are you interested in a career with the Department of Labor? DOL has job opportunities throughout the country, including openings in OSHA.

Images of DOL employees

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