|February 1, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 3|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
Beginning Feb. 1, employers who are required to keep the OSHA Form 300 Injury and Illness log must post a summary of the log. Employers must post OSHA's Form 300A from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2013 in a common area wherever notices to workers are usually posted.
The summary must list the total numbers of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2012. All establishment summaries must be certified by a company executive. Copies of the OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are available for download on the OSHA Recordkeeping webpage. See OSHA's Recordkeeping Handbook for more information on posting requirements for OSHA's Form 300A.
OSHA is seeking public comments on a proposal for a new online whistleblower complaint form. The proposed form will allow workers to electronically submit whistleblower complaints directly to OSHA, 24 hours a day. The draft form is published in the January 17, 2013 Federal Register, along with instructions on how to comment. Comments are due by March 18, 2013.
Workers' rights to notify OSHA about retaliation by employers are guaranteed under the OSH Act and 21 additional whistleblower protection statutes. It is OSHA's policy to accept complaints orally or in writing under all statutes that OSHA administers. More information is available at www.whistleblowers.gov.
OSHA's new Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee held its first meeting Jan. 29 in Washington, D.C. Representatives from both management and labor highlighted the tangible improvements made to the program over the past 18 months. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels told committee members that they embody the Department's strong commitment to protecting all workers' right to safe and healthful workplaces. "A program of this importance must tap into the best thinkers in the country and we’ve assembled some of you here," he said.
Dr. David Michaels stressed the importance of whistleblowers to the broad economy, citing the importance of whistleblowers for worker safety, environmental protection, and protecting the integrity of the financial system. He challenged the committee to help OSHA find ways to return fired whistleblowers to their jobs more quickly and smoothly, and to provide ideas that help more employers create a workplace culture that invites workers to speak up and identify hazards. "Workers must have the ability to protect the health and safety of not just themselves, but other workers as well."
More in information on OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program is available at www.whistleblowers.gov.
With the arrival of cold weather, OSHA is reminding employers to take necessary precautions to protect workers from the serious, and sometimes fatal, effects of carbon monoxide exposure.
Every year, workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning, usually while using fuel-burning equipment and tools in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation. This can be especially true during the winter months when workers use this type of equipment in indoor spaces that have been sealed tightly to block out cold temperatures and wind. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure can include everything from headaches, dizziness and drowsiness to nausea, vomiting or tightness across the chest.
To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace, employers should install an effective ventilation system, avoid the use of fuel-burning equipment in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces, use carbon monoxide detectors in areas where the hazard is a concern and take other precautions outlined in OSHA's Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet. For additional information on carbon monoxide poisoning and preventing exposure in the workplace, see OSHA's Carbon Monoxide Poisoning QuickCards (in English and Spanish) and the news release.
OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are warning workers and employers about the dangers of using methylene chloride-based stripping products in bathtub refinishing. Methylene chloride, a chemical used in industrial processes, but also available in over-the-counter paint and finish stripping products, has been implicated in at least 14 deaths since 2000 of workers refinishing bathtubs. These workers were generally working alone, in poorly ventilated bathrooms, with inadequate or no respiratory protection, and no training about the hazards of methylene chloride. The new OSHA-NIOSH Hazard Alert details methylene chloride’s toxicity, safety precautions when using methylene chloride and employer responsibilities under OSHA's methylene chloride standard.
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This update to the Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The revised standard is improving the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals.
The first deadline in the implementation phase is Dec. 1, 2013. By this date, employers must train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheet format. OSHA has prepared a number of materials that explain the new changes to the requirements of the HCS, including a list of frequently asked questions, QuickCards, fact sheets, a webinar that provides an overview of the rule and a downloadable PowerPoint presentation. These materials are available on OSHA’s Hazard Communications page.
OSHA and the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network, known as STEPS, are co-sponsoring a "safety stand-down" from Jan. 24 through Feb. 28 to promote safety and health practices at oil and gas exploration and production sites in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Participating companies in the month-long stand-down will hold training events at their oil and gas worksites, conduct site inspections, document and eliminate hazards and train workers. OSHA will provide training materials and assistance. For more information, see the news release and visit the OSHA Education Center at the University of Texas Arlington stand-down website.
To better protect today's laboratory workers, OSHA has published updates to a non-mandatory appendix of its Laboratory Standard. Updated with assistance from the National Academies of Science, the appendix now includes developments in the ways that labs can promote safer handling of chemicals and use safety and health management systems to find and fix hazards before workers are hurt. OSHA has also incorporated issues raised in recent U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigations, including new information on the hazards of reactive chemicals, physical hazards and working alone. For more information on laboratory safety and the standards requirements, see OSHA's Laboratory Safety Guidance. Details are available in the Federal Register notice.
OSHA has issued its annual inspection plan of federal agency establishments under its Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program directive for fiscal year 2013. FEDTARG directs programmed inspections of federal agency establishments where a high number of workers have been absent due to on-the-job injuries.
The directive outlines the procedures for inspecting federal worksites. OSHA will inspect all establishments reporting 100 or more cases where a worker was absent due to injury during fiscal year 2012; 50 percent of those establishments reporting 50 to 99 cases; and 10 percent of those reporting 20 to 49 cases. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Pennsylvania-based Panthera Painting Inc. with 38 violations — including 14 willful and 11 repeat — found at several bridge work sites where workers were exposed to lead and other safety and health hazards while performing abrasive blasting and repainting projects. Proposed penalties total $459,844. The willful violations include failing to properly protect workers from exposure to lead and provide fall protection. Due to the willful and repeat violations, Panthera has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Lorice Enterprises LLC of Albany, N.Y., for nine violations of safety and health standards, including one willful violation, for improperly removing asbestos-containing roofing material at a worksite. The asbestos remediation company faces a total $83,300 in proposed fines. OSHA’s Albany Area Office initiated the August 2012 inspection in response to a referral from the New York State Asbestos Control Bureau. The inspection resulted in the issuance of one willful citation with a $49,000 fine for failing to perform daily monitoring for asbestos exposure. The eight serious violations with $34,300 in fines include failing to wear protective equipment properly and wet materials to prevent exposure to possible airborne asbestos. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has cited Rana Meal Solutions LLC with 12 safety violations following a complaint alleging workers were exposed to ammonia hazards at the Bartlett, Ill., plant, which was being retrofitted for use as a pasta production facility. Eight serious violations of OSHA's process safety management standards were cited for deficiencies in the company's ammonia refrigeration process. Proposed fines total$54,000. For more information, read the news release.
OSHA has established an alliance with the Builders Association to provide information and guidance to employers and workers, develop safety training and education programs, promote understanding of workers' rights, and deliver training programs on common hazards in the construction industry. For more information on this alliance, read the news release.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.
OSHA's Columbus, Ohio Area Office and The Ohio State University will co-host a one-day construction safety seminar Feb. 7 at the Fawcett Center on the university campus. Commercial construction employers, workers members of related organizations, and students studying construction management and safety are invited. Seminar sessions will include information about hazards covered by OSHA Region V local emphasis programs, working in confined spaces, electrical safety, safety metrics, best practices in the industry, and developing a workplace safety culture through leadership. Region V OSHA Regional Administrator Nick Walters will be the keynote speaker. For registration information, see the American Society of Safety Engineers Central Ohio chapter website and the directions/map.
To protect soldiers and civilians who handle hazardous chemicals on the job, the U.S. Army has announced plans to fully integrate OSHA’s recently revised Hazard Communication Standard at Army locations throughout the world. The integration of the revised standard at U.S. Army locations will be completed in phases as specified in OSHA's revised standard. In the first phase, the Army expects to train leaders and managers by Dec. 1, 2013 to ensure that their workers understand the new label elements and safety data sheet format. For information on the Army's integration initiative, see the press release issued by the U.S. Army. For more information about OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, visit OSHA's Hazard Communication page.
The leading cause of on-the-job deaths among workers in the oil and gas extraction industry involve the use of trucks and cars, according to a new study by safety analysts with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The study, “Motor vehicle fatalities among oil and gas extraction workers," using fatality data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, appears in the March edition of Accident Analysis & Prevention.
The NIOSH analysis found that between 2003 and 2008, on-the-job casualties with cars and trucks killed 202 workers, representing nearly one-third of worker deaths in the industry. The second-leading cause of death was workers being struck or caught by equipment. Workers from small oil and gas establishments and workers from well-servicing companies were at greatest risk of dying in a work-related motor vehicle crash, the study says. Pick-up trucks were the most frequent type of vehicle occupied by the fatally injured worker. Failure to use safety belts was identified in 38.1% of the cases.
Workers face many hazards during winter storm response and recovery operations. A Spanish-language summary of the hazards and necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe is now available on the Spanish-language version of the Winter Weather Web page.
With seasonal information available in Spanish, OSHA continues to reach out to Spanish-speaking employers and our country’s most vulnerable workers.
OSHA recently issued several new Fact Sheets and QuickCards that provide important safety and health information for workers and employers in the construction, nanotechnology and maritime industries.
OSHA's Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Wire Rope Inspection Fact Sheet describes the requirements in OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks standard for inspecting wire ropes used by cranes, derricks and hoists to lift and move heavy loads.
The Working Safely with Nanomaterials Fact Sheet provides basic information on the hazards of working with tiny materials of a near-atomic scale that can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.
To order free copies of these QuickCards or other publications, call OSHA's Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999 or visit OSHA's Publications page online.
OSHA's New Compliance Assistance Products webpage puts links to OSHA's recently issued or updated compliance assistance products in one location for easy reference. Featured products released in January include Spanish-language media resources for OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign, a healthcare clinicians webpage, and a hazard alert on diesel exhaust and particulate matter. Items listed on the page with an OSHA publication number can be downloaded or ordered from the OSHA Publications page. They can also be ordered by telephone from OSHA's Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999.
While filing reports in his 6th floor downtown office, Jeff Rucker, Dallas regional program manager for OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program, noticed several construction workers at a building across the street taking down a large holiday ornament display without proper fall protection.
Rucker ran across the street to intervene, gathered the construction site manager and crew, and reviewed OSHA requirements for man lifts, fall prevention, personal protective equipment and other life-saving measures. In one hour, the construction site manager was back on site with fall protection, hard hats and reflective vests, and Rucker returned to make sure harnesses were positioned correctly on the workers and lanyards were secured. By the end of the day the ornaments were taken down and everyone left the job safely.
OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses to help them identify and correct hazards and improve their injury and illness prevention programs. To request a free consultation, call 800-321-OSHA (6742) to find an office in your area or visit OSHA’s On-Site Consultation page.
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