|September 16, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 18|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
On Sept. 12, the notice of proposed rulemaking for respirable crystalline silica was published in the Federal Register. OSHA invites and strongly encourages the public to participate in the process of developing a final rule through written comments and participation in public hearings. The public will have until Dec. 11, 2013, to submit written comments on the proposed rule. Hearings on the proposed silica rule are scheduled to begin on March 4, 2014 at the Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, DC. Members of the public who wish to participate in public hearings must submit a notice of intention to appear by Nov. 12, 2013. To read the notice of proposed rulemaking, visit https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-20997. Additional information on the propose rule, including five fact sheets, and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings is available at www.osha.gov/silica.
OSHA has awarded $10.1 million through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program to 70 nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations; employer associations; labor unions; joint labor/management associations; and colleges and universities. The grants will fund education and training programs for workers and employers in recognizing workplace safety and health hazards and prevention measures, and inform them of their rights and responsibilities. Target audiences include young, underserved, and limited English proficiency workers in high-hazard industries and small business employers.
"These grants reflect the department's commitment to ensuring all workers and employers have the tools and skills to identify hazards and prevent injuries," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "By further advancing a culture of workplace safety and health, we help to eliminate the false choice between enhancing workplace safety and productivity."
For details about OSHA's eighteen new Harwood grantees and 52 follow-on grants, read the press release.
Adams Thermal Systems Inc. has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with OSHA and the U.S. Attorney's Office to pay more than $1.33 million to resolve criminal penalties and OSHA fines levied as a result of the death of a worker on Nov. 7, 2011, in the company's Canton plant. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will pay the worker's surviving spouse $450,000, a criminal fine of $450,000 and the full OSHA fine of $435,000. OSHA's investigation found the worker was fatally crushed in a machine used to make radiator cores, after management instructed and authorized workers to bypass the manufacturer's barrier guard in order to adjust the machine to keep it running.
"Adams Thermal failed to provide a safe workplace, and those conditions ultimately took the life of a worker. There is no excuse for an employer to compromise safety to keep production running," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "No one should ever lose their life for a job." Additional details are available in the press release.
OSHA has ordered MGM Resorts International to reinstate a whistleblower immediately and pay damages of approximately $325,000 for violations under the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The former employee was terminated in retaliation for disclosing that coworkers were allegedly violating Securities and Exchange Commission rules and regulations. For more information about this case, read the press release. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statues, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. For detailed information on workers' whistleblower rights, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
In a study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers have found that superior management of worker safety and health is linked to improved stock market value and returns. The study compared the performances of companies who had won an award for effective injury and illness prevention with those of the 500 leading companies publicly traded in the U.S. stock market over a 15-year period. The safety award winning businesses outperformed the other firms, proving that preventative safety and health management correlates directly with a company’s bottom line. Read more about the study here.
Taylor's Drain and Sewer Service has been cited by OSHA for 10 safety violations, including two willful, after OSHA found that the company failed to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at two separate jobs sites in Lincoln, leading to a serious injury. Proposed penalties total $194,000. A worker was buried waist-deep when a trench approximately 9 feet deep collapsed, March 22, and required surgery to recover for his injuries. On April 11, two other workers at a separate job site were observed in a 10-foot-deep trench without protection.
"Cave–ins are the leading cause of injury and death during excavations," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Taylor Drain and Sewer Service failed to provide basic safety precautions, which led to the serious injury of one of its workers. This employer had no excuse for noncompliance."
For more information and a complete list of citations, read the press release.
OSHA has cited Fox Valley Systems Inc. for 26 safety violations following an explosion and fire that resulted in serious injuries to three employees on March 6 at the Cary, Ill., plant. Flammable vapors ignited in the production facility, resulting in an explosion and fire that caused extensive damage to the building and the interconnected aerosol-propellant charging rooms. Multiple violations of OSHA's process safety management standards for facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals were found at the facility. Other violations included locked doors impeding exit routes and snow blocked exits, slowing employees from exiting the plant quickly. Proposed penalties total $262,000. See the news release for more information and a complete list of citations.
BFI Waste Services of Texas LP, doing business as Republic Services Inc., and Recana Solutions LLC, a temporary worker staffing agency, have been cited by OSHA for seven safety violations for exposing workers to excessive heat after a temporary worker died from heat stress in June. BFI was cited for failing to provide first aid training and protect workers from recognized heat stress hazards. Recana Solutions was also cited for failing to protect workers from recognized heat stress hazards, report a fatality to OSHA within eight hours and provide personal protective equipment. Read the news release for more information.
On Sept. 3, OSHA joined with more than 300 employer and labor organizations to hold a stand-down for safety event at construction sites throughout Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. More than 6,500 workers received site-specific training on falls — the leading cause of deaths in construction — during the event. View photos from the event here. OSHA is holding another fall safety stand-down on Oct. 1 in the Rocky Mountain states. To join the stand-down, register online, and visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls to find free OSHA fall prevention resources (en español).
OSHA's heat illness prevention campaign has continued through the hot days of August, with 10,350 people downloading the free heat app onto their smartphones. More than 114,000 people have downloaded the heat app since OSHA launched it in August 2011. For free heat illness prevention resources, visit www.osha.gov/heat (and en español).
In an effort to protect workers in the oil and gas industry, OSHA, the National Service Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network and the University of Texas at Arlington's OSHA Education Center have organized a nationwide safety and health stand-down event for Nov. 14. Visit the OSHA Stand-Down website to learn more and register to participate. In addition, eight OSHA-authorized education centers are offering a new oil and gas safety training course, Hazards Recognition and Standards for On-Shore Oil and Gas Exploration and Production. Since this course was introduced in January 2013, OSHA Education Centers have conducted 34 classes in 11 different states, resulting in more than 400 students trained. Visit OSHA's online Searchable Course Schedule to find when and where the course will next take place.
OSHA is seeking nominations from individuals interested in serving as members on the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA is seeking to fill five positions that will become vacant on Jan. 1, 2014. Nominations will be accepted for two federal agency management representatives and three labor organization representatives. Members will serve terms not to exceed three years. FACOSH advises the secretary of labor on matters relating to federal employees’ occupational safety and health. See the news release for submission details.
OSHA has recognized Troy Industrial Solutions of Watervliet, N.Y. for its commitment to worker safety by recertifying it in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. The company first achieved SHARP status in 1999 after contacting OSHA's On-site Consultation Program for help reducing workplace injuries. With OSHA's help, Troy has not only corrected hazards related to proper machine guarding, safety data sheets and training documentation, but has adopted a new companywide safety culture. As a result, the company's workers' compensation rates have declined steadily over the last three years, returning more than $17,000 in savings that the company has reinvested into workplace safety. To read more about the company's success, visit the OSHA website. 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.
OSHA's updated 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. Find information and resources, including QuickCards, a training fact sheet (PDF*), a list of frequently asked questions and a brief (PDF*) on labels and pictograms on OSHA's Hazard Communications page.
A new OSHA Fatal Facts sheet (PDF*) advises employers on how to prevent injuries and deaths from cotton presses. The resource describes an incident where tie rods on a cotton press compressing a cotton bale suffered metal fatigue. The resulting pressure release launched a 6,255-pound beam that killed one worker and injured two others. For a list of free OSHA resources available for order and download, visit OSHA's Publications Web page.
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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