January 17, 2019 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • A twice monthly newsletter with information about workplace safety and health.
OSHA Penalties Adjusting in 2019
OSHA's civil penalties amounts for violations of workplace safety and health standards will increase in 2019 to adjust for inflation. The adjusted maximum penalty amounts will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register. New penalties for willful and repeat violations will be $132,598 per violation; serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements are $13,260 per violation; and failure to abate violations are $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date.
Workplace Fatalities Declined in 2017
There were fewer workplace fatalities in 2017 than the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017 (CFOI) reportreleased in December. The fatal injury rate decreased from 3.6 percent in 2016 to 3.5 percent in 2017.
Crane-related workplace fatalities, and fatal occupational injuries in manufacturing and wholesale trade reached their lowest points since the CFOI started in 1992. The number of unintentional overdoses due to the nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol while at work increased by 25 percent – the fifth consecutive year that overdose deaths rose by at least 25 percent. See OSHA's statement on the report.
Employers Must Post 2018 Injury/Illness Summary Beginning Feb. 1
Employers are reminded of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2018. Each year, from Feb. 1 to April 30, the summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements. Visit OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule webpage for more information on recordkeeping requirements.
Two Roofing Companies Cited after Colorado Workers Exposed to Fall Hazards
Roofing contractor Aspen Contracting, Inc., and subcontractor J Cuellar, LLC, were cited for repeatedly failing to protect workers from fall hazards, and failing to conduct regular inspections of the worksite. J Cuellar was cited for a fall protection violation. The companies face penalties totaling $147,998. Read the news release for more information.
Florida Roofing Contractor Cited for Repeatedly Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards
Roofing contractor Turnkey Construction Planners, Inc., faces $199,184 in penalties for exposing workers to fall hazards. During an inspection initiated as part of OSHA's Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction, inspectors observed workers without fall protection at two worksites. OSHA cited the company four times in the past five years for similar violations. For more information, read the news release.
Kansas Drywall Contractor Cited Following Fatal Forklift Incident
Midwest Drywall Company, Inc., faces $77,604 in penalties after a worker was fatally crushed by part of a forklift. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to properly secure a suspended and supported load, and ensure that workers were kept clear of it. The company was also cited for violations of the forklift, machine guarding, and control of hazardous energy standards. Read the news release for more information.
Minnesota Cites Co-op after Fatal Grain Engulfment
Minnesota OSHA issued six willful serious citations and $375,000 in penalties to Meadowland Farmers Co-op after a worker became engulfed by grain and suffocated. Inspectors determined that the co-op failed to guard a grain chute floor hole, ensure workers wore a body harness with a lifeline, and provide a safety observer or rescue equipment for workers entering a silo.
Nebraska Dairy Company Cited after Worker Fatality
OSHA cited Thiele Dairy for failing to implement a safety and health program for grain bin entry. A worker removing corn from inside a grain bin was fatally injured when an operating sweep auger lacerated his leg. The dairy was also cited for failing to report the fatality within the required eight hours. Thiele faces $78,899 in penalties. For more information, read the news release.
Contractor Cited Following Crane Collapse at New York City Construction Worksite
Western Specialty Contractors was cited and fined $155,204 for exposing workers to injuries after an unsecured mini-crane overturned and fell four stories. The company was cited for failing to ensure that crane operators were trained, evaluated, and deemed competent to operate the equipment; permitting the operation of a crane in excess of its rated lifting capacity; and not verifying that the load lifted was within the crane's rated capacity. For more information, read the news release.
Ohio UPS Facility Cited for Blocking Exits
OSHA cited United Parcel Service for exposing workers to fire, entrapment, and emergency evacuation hazards. Inspectors determined that the company allowed exit routes to be blocked by packages and equipment. The company faces $208,603 in penalties. For more information, read the news release.
SAFETY AND HEALTH OUTREACH
OSHA Provides Outreach on Regional Emphasis Program for Ammonia-Based Fertilizer
OSHA's new Regional Emphasis Program in the North West Central and South West Central United States aims to reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities at facilities that mix, store, and distribute fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate and agricultural anhydrous ammonia. In December, Jeff Wanko, OSHA's director of chemical process safety and enforcement initiatives, discussed the emphasis program with industry employers in Missouri and Nebraska. Read the news release for more information about OSHA's efforts to protect workers from hazards associated with these chemicals.
OSHA Revises Requirements for Trainers in Outreach Training Program
OSHA has revised the requirements for authorized trainers in the Outreach Training Program. These revisions include eliminating the 90-day grace period after a trainer card expires, and updating the Trainer Code of Conduct and trainer responsibilities. The program trains workers and supervisors to recognize and prevent safety and health hazards on the job, and to understand workers' rights and employers' responsibilities. The new requirements are effective April 1, 2019.
On-Site Consultation Program Helps Kansas Clinic Reduce Injuries and Costs
Community HealthCare System (CHCS) contacted OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program for help improving the workplace safety policies and procedures at three Kansas clinics. After correcting all hazards identified during the consultation, CHSC continued making improvements to its safety and health program, and was accepted into OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. CHCS has one of only four hospitals in the country to earn this distinction. As a result of maintaining a total recordable injury rate of zero over several years, CHCS's workers' compensation premium dropped by more than half. For more information, read the success story.
OSHA and Turner Construction Partner to Promote Workplace Safety
OSHA and Turner Construction Company established a strategic partnership to promote workplace safety during a hospital construction project in Erie, Pa. The partnership's goals are to educate workers, control or eliminate serious hazards, and establish effective safety and health programs. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA Alliance Partners Commit to Improving Worker Safety and Health
- The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the New Jersey State Industrial Safety Committee signed a two-year agreement to guide local businesses through the development and implementation of effective safety and health programs. Read the news release for more information.
- The Montana Contractors Association signed a two-year agreement to provide training and education programs for small employers to protect workers from construction industry hazards. For more information, see the news release.
SAFETY AND HEALTH RESOURCES
New Pamphlet on Snow Removal Addresses Worker Safety
OSHA has a new resource to help employers and workers involved in snow removal operations take precautions and focus on safety. Prior to beginning work, employers should check for worksite hazards, limit roof access for snow removal, train workers on the signs of cold stress, and ensure that powered equipment is used according to the manufacturers' instructions.
Online Database Provides Information on Workplace Injury Trends
The National Safety Council posted an online version of the Injury Facts reference book for safety statistics. The free resource features a section on workplace safety that includes work-related injury and fatality trends, and how to benchmark an organization's injury and illness incidence rates with national averages. The information is organized into safety topics, such as falls, work-related fatigue, and forklifts.