|December 2, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 22|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
The owner of a New Hampshire gunpowder plant, Craig Sanborn, was sentenced on Nov. 27 by a superior court judge to five to 10 years on two counts of manslaughter, to be served consecutively, for a total of 10 to 20 years, and assessed fines of $10,000, following the 2010 death of two of his workers. Jesse Kennett and Don Kendall had been on the job only a month when they died May 14, 2010, in an explosion at Black Mag LLC's facility in Colebrook, N.H., where they were manufacturing a gunpowder substitute. OSHA's investigation provided crucial evidence in the criminal case.
"The disregard for safety cost two workers their lives, and this jury agreed that Craig Sanborn's actions were criminal," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Sanborn recklessly ignored basic safety measures that would have protected their lives. His criminal conviction and sentence won't bring these men back to life, but it will keep him from putting workers' lives in peril. And it should drive home to employers this message: Worker safety can never be sacrificed for the benefit of production, and workers' lives are not — and must never be — considered part of the cost of doing business."
In October 2010, OSHA cited Sanborn, for more than 50 willful, egregious and serious violations of safety standards in connection with the explosion — including failure to provide employees with training and personal protective equipment, and failure to implement essential controls to protect workers at the facility. See Dr. Michaels' statement and OSHA's 2010 news release for more information.
OSHA has been on the scene providing compliance assistance to residents recovering from the damage caused by the Nov. 17 storm that occurred in Washington, Coal City, Massac County and other areas of Illinois. OSHA staff are urging recovery workers, employers and the public to exercise caution during cleanup operations.
For staff in OSHA's Peoria Area Office, it has been a task of helping their neighbors. In a blog post and video, OSHA Assistant Area Director Barry Salerno describes how staff members walked the streets of the damaged areas to help residents stay safe during recovery efforts. Hazards involved in cleanup work may include downed electrical wires, electrical shock from portable generators and fall and struck-by dangers from tree-trimming or working at heights. Read the news release for more information on OSHA's on-site assistance during recovery efforts and visit OSHA's website to learn about tornado preparedness and response.
OSHA has cited Aldridge Electric Inc. for a serious safety violation after a 36-year-old worker died from heat stroke on his first day on the job at the company's Chicago job site. The company was installing electrical conduit in an uncovered trench on the Chicago Transit Authority's Dan Ryan Red Line project. OSHA's investigation found that the Aldridge Electric did not implement an adequate and effective heat stress program and failed to ensure a newly employed worker was acclimatized to effects of heat and physical exertion. The worker was carrying heavy electrical conduit piping in non-shaded conditions when he collapsed on the job site. He died from his illness the following day. Proposed penalties total $7,000. Read the news release for more details on this case and information and resources on heat illness for workers and employers.
OSHA has cited Trenton, Ill.-based Affordable Roofing and Exteriors Inc. $158,015 for safety violations following inspections at three job sites where workers were not provided with fall protection during the installation of shingles on residential roofs. Violations also included not providing eye protection to workers who used pneumatic nail guns. The company has been cited for similar violations in five previous inspections. See the press release for a full list of citations and visit OSHA's Stop Falls Web page for more information on fall protection and preventative measures.
OSHA has cited Tyson Foods Inc. for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection at its Buffalo manufacturing plant. The processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork faces a total of $121,720 in proposed fines. The inspection, which began on May 15, was conducted under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. OSHA found a cross section of mechanical, electrical and fall hazards, as well as several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program for its refrigeration system that uses large amounts of ammonia. See the press release for a list of citations.
On Nov. 20, OSHA issued a direct final rule, along with a companion notice of proposed rulemaking, that revises requirements of OSHA's standard for mechanical power presses, which punch, form or assemble metal or other materials. Workers can be exposed to hand, finger or arm injuries-often resulting in amputation-if parts of a press are worn, damaged or not operating properly. The new rule eliminates a requirement for employers to document mandatory weekly inspections of these presses while clarifying the responsibility of employers to perform and document any maintenance or repairs necessary to protect the safety of workers who operate them. The final rule will be effective Feb.18, 2014, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by Dec. 20, 2013. See the news release and Federal Register notice for more information and go to www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, to submit comments electronically.
As part of executive order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, the Department of Labor is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies to host a series of public listening sessions and webinars to solicit comments and suggestions from stakeholders to reduce safety and security risks in the production and storage of potentially harmful chemicals.
The next listening session is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2013, at the Valencia Criminal Justice Institute, at 8600 Valencia College Lane, Auditorium-150, in Orlando, Fla. The next online webinar is scheduled for Dec. 16, 2013.
Additional listening sessions may be scheduled in December 2013 and January 2014. Previous public listening sessions were held in Springfield, Ill., Texas City, Texas and Washington, D.C. and the first webinar occurred on Nov. 25. To attend a public listening session and/or a webinar or to make a comment or presentation, participants must register at www.GovEvents.com. For more information, see the Federal Register notice.
OSHA has signed an alliance with the Philippine Consulate to promote workplace safety and health for Filipino workers in seven states and territories. Through this new alliance, information will be developed and distributed to help these workers understand their rights in the workplace and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational and Safety Health Act. For more information, see the news release.
OSHA and the Professional Landcare Network have signed a new five-year agreement to provide safety and health training that focuses on hard-to-reach workers, including young workers, workers with low literacy, and non-English speaking workers in the landscape industry, a workforce of nearly 930,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The alliance will focus on reducing and preventing worker exposure to manual material handling; slip, trip and fall hazards; and motor vehicle safety.
Through its Alliance program, OSHA works with consulates, unions, trade and professional organizations, faith and community-based organizations, and businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.
With cooler temperatures providing some relief from this summer’s dangerous heat, it's time to gather your input on OSHA's heat illness prevention campaign. OSHA has developed a brief survey to evaluate the usefulness of the heat illness prevention campaign website and to identify possible modifications for next year. The brief survey will not collect any personal information from visitors – only opinions and evaluations of the heat illness prevention campaign. Did you use the educational resources on the web? Were the materials useful for the work you do? Let us know!