February 22, 2019 • Volume 18, Issue 3 • A twice monthly newsletter with information about workplace safety and health.
OSHA Urges Employers to Prevent Worker Exposure to Carbon Monoxide
OSHA is reminding employers to take necessary precautions to protect workers from the potentially fatal effects of carbon monoxide exposure. Every year, workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning, usually while using fuel-burning equipment, tools, compressors and pumps, gas-powered forklifts, and other devices in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation. To reduce the risk of exposure, employers should install an effective ventilation system, use carbon monoxide detectors, and take other precautions as described in OSHA's Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet. Other OSHA resources include videos (in English and Spanish), QuickCards (in English and Spanish), and a fact sheet on portable generator safety.
Sixth Annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls: May 6-10, 2019
OSHA and its partners will host events throughout the country in honor of the sixth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction May 6-10, 2019. Employers and workers will pause to talk about fall hazards, OSHA compliance, and industry best practices to prevent falls. The 2019 poster is now available on OSHA’s publications page.
Reporting Injury and Illness Summary for 2018
March 2, 2019, is the deadline for employers to electronically report OSHA Form 300A data, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during calendar year 2018. Not all establishments are covered by this requirement. Visit OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application webpage for information about which establishments are covered by this requirement and to submit data.
OSHA Issues Instruction on Enforcement of Crane Operator Certification Requirement
OSHA is now enforcing the requirement that employers must evaluate the competency of their operators before allowing them to operate cranes independently. The agency will offer compliance assistance until April 15 for those employers who have evaluated operators in accordance with the final rule and are making good faith efforts to comply with the new documentation requirement. For more information, read the agency’s enforcement guidance.
OSHA Statement on Conviction for Selling Fraudulent Training Cards
A New Jersey safety trainer recently pleaded guilty to selling more than 100 fraudulent training cards to workers. “OSHA’s outreach training serves to educate workers about safety issues they will encounter on the job site,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson. “Falsifying documents not only undermines the program, it fails to protect workers on the job.” OSHA will refer fraudulent activity to the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and trainers caught falsifying information will be subject to criminal prosecution. For more information, see the news release.
California Fines Pipe Manufacturer after Worker Falls into Cement Mixer
California OSHA fined U.S. Pipe and Foundry Co. $54,160 after a worker fell through an open hatch into a cement mixer silo. Inspectors found that the company failed to provide adequate rescue equipment, and protect workers from fall hazards.
Texas Indoor Gun Range Cited for Exposing Workers to Unsafe Lead Levels
Tap Rack Bang Indoor Shooting Range, LLC, faces $214,387 in penalties for exposing workers to lead contamination and inhalation hazards. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to replace damaged personal protective equipment, institute a medical surveillance program, and use vacuums to remove lead debris. Read the news release for more information.
Washington Cites Construction Contractors for Exposing Workers to Asbestos Hazards
The Washington Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued a total of 11 willful and serious citations, and $789,200 in combined penalties to James Thorpe, Chris Walters, Northlake Capital + Development, and 3917 Densmore, LLC, for exposing workers to asbestos hazards at a residential construction site. Inspectors found that the owners failed to provide proper personal protective equipment, monitor or sample the air during removal, use certified workers to remove asbestos, and have a certified asbestos supervisor present. Read the news release for more information.
Connecticut Manufacturer Settles Whistleblower Allegations Regarding Termination of Two Employees
A district court ordered Eastern Awning Systems, Inc., and owner Stephen P. Lukos to pay $160,000 to two employees who were fired after filing safety and health complaints with OSHA. In addition to ordering back pay, interest, and emotional and exemplary damages, the judgment restrains the company and owner from discriminating against employees who exercise their rights under whistleblower protections. For more information, read the news release.
Vermont Company Ordered to Compensate Employee Fired for Reporting Finance Industry Violations
Hermitage Club Realty, LLC, was ordered to pay a former employee more than $40,000 in back pay, bonuses, and compensatory damages. The employee was fired for notifying the company about illegal real estate referral fees, and for filing a formal complaint with Vermont regulators. An OSHA investigation determined that the employee’s actions were protected, and that the termination violated whistleblower provisions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act. Read the news release for more information.
SAFETY AND HEALTH OUTREACH
March is National Ladder Safety Month
Every year more than 100 workers are fatally injured and thousands suffer disabling injuries in ladder-related incidents. In March, the American Ladder Institute is sponsoring its annual National Ladder Safety Month to promote ladder safety at work and home. OSHA will be participating in two symposiums on March 13 in Houston, Texas, (register to attend in person or via live webcast) and March 19 in Arlington, Texas, (register to attend in person or via live webcast).
Safe-in-Sound Award Recognizes Achievements in Hearing Loss Prevention
The Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award is presented annually by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association and the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation. The award honors those who have contributed to the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing or other sound in the ear) through effective practices or innovations to improve workplace safety. This year’s recipient, Kurt Yankaskas of the Office of Naval Research, managed a project that led to innovative approaches in managing exposure to noise for Navy personnel. To learn more about the award and this year’s recipient, visit the Safe-in-Sound website.
On-Site Consultation Program Helps Ohio Auto Parts Supplier Reduce Injuries
Automotive parts supplier Egelhof Controls Corp. worked with OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program to develop improved safety protocols, documentation, training, and performance tracking at its facility in Toledo, Ohio. Egelhof established a safety committee that meets monthly to conduct safety walk-throughs and address any deficiencies or potential hazards. Egelhof maintained a total recordable injury rate of zero for three consecutive years. The company’s efforts led to being accepted in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. For more information, read the success story.
OSHA Partners with Contractor to Promote Workplace Safety during Construction of Tire Plant in Mississippi
OSHA, Mississippi State University’s Center for Continuing Education Industrial Health & Safety Program, and Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, established a strategic partnership to protect workers at a tire plant construction project in Clinton, Mississippi. The partnership intends to develop and implement safety and health programs, and provide training to workers, employers, and supervisors. For more information, read the news release.
SAFETY AND HEALTH RESOURCES
New Video Provides Information on Trenching and Excavation Safety
A new video developed by Dallas-area OSHA Training Institute Education Centers offers guidance on how to prevent injuries from common hazards in trenching and excavation. The one-hour video focuses on cave-in protection, competent persons, and best practices. Register online to receive a link to this free video.