April 04, 2019 • Volume 18, Issue 6 • A twice monthly newsletter with information about workplace safety and health.
OSHA to Host Third Meeting on Whistleblower Issues May 14
A meeting will be held May 14 in Washington, D.C., to solicit public comments and suggestions from stakeholders on issues facing OSHA in the administration of the whistleblower protection provisions under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. OSHA is seeking input on improving whistleblower customer service and enhancing understanding of whistleblower laws the agency enforces. The meeting will be held at the U.S. Department of Labor’s national headquarters. Those interested must register by April 30. For more information, see the Federal Register notice. OSHA previously held stakeholder meetings on whistleblower protection in the transportation and financial sectors.
Governors Sign Grain Safety Stand-Up Proclamations
Governors Laura Kelly of Kansas, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, Michael L. Parson of Missouri, and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska signed proclamations recognizing March 25-29 as Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week. The purpose of the event is to increase awareness of grain industry hazards, including bin entry, machine guarding, falls, heat, combustible dust, and struck-by. The governors recognized the efforts of participating organizations to ensure worker safety with proper training, supervision, and equipment. More information is on the Stand-Up for Grain Safety website.
Ohio Company Faces $1.3 Million in Penalties after Willfully Exposing Workers to Hazards
Dowa THT America Inc. was cited for exposing workers to atmospheric, thermal, electrical, and mechanical hazards while they performed maintenance inside heat-treating furnaces. The company was cited for 25 violations of confined spaces, fall, machine guarding, respiratory, chemical, and electrical safety and health standards. Dowa THT faces $1,339,596 in penalties and has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Read the news release for more information.
California Fines Contractor after Worker Seriously Injured in Fall
California OSHA issued four citations and $75,750 in penalties to Accurate Comfort Systems Inc. after a worker suffered serious injuries in a fall from a 12-foot-high work area. Inspectors determined that the company allowed workers to stand on the ladder’s top cap, and failed to ensure the ladder was secured and extended to the appropriate distance. The company was previously cited for these violations in 2017.
Ammunition Manufacturer Cited after Two Workers Die in Explosion at North Florida Worksite
AMTEC Less Lethal Systems Inc. faces $188,290 in penalties after an explosion fatally injured two workers. The company was cited for failing to protect and train workers when it increased the maximum explosive limits of pyrotechnic flash powder. Read the news release for more information.
South Florida Restaurant Operator Cited after Worker Suffers Burn Injuries
OSHA cited the operator of a Chili’s Grill and Bar restaurant for exposing workers to burns, falls, and other safety and health hazards. A worker was burned after falling from an unguarded platform into a hot water bath. Brinker Florida Inc. was cited for failing to train workers on hazardous chemicals, ensure inspection of portable ladders, and provide suitable facilities for flushing chemicals from workers’ eyes. The company faces $62,513 in penalties. Read the news release for more information.
Georgia Contractor Cited for Trenching Violations
Corley Contractors Inc. faces $106,078 in penalties for exposing workers to excavation hazards while installing water and sewer lines. OSHA initiated an inspection as part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation after observing workers exposed to trenching hazards. Inspectors determined that the company failed to install a protective cave-in system inside the excavation area, and provide a safe means to enter and exit the excavation. For more information, read the news release.
Michigan Cites Powder Coating Company for Exposing Workers to Fall and Other Hazards
Michigan OSHA issued seven citations and $65,000 in penalties to Powder Cote II for failing to provide fall protection or guardrail systems, guard rotating shafts and machinery, and failing to control the startup of machinery during maintenance. The company was previously cited for these violations in 2014.
Reminder: Employers Must Post Injury/Illness Summary Through April 30
Each year, employers are required to post a copy of OSHA Form 300A from Feb. 1 through April 30. The summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to workers are usually posted. Businesses with 10 or fewer workers and those in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements. Visit OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule webpage for more information.
SAFETY AND HEALTH OUTREACH
OSHA Participates in Construction Expo for Students
The Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) held its annual CareerExpo March 21-22. The event featured hands-on displays that allowed students to interact with leaders in the construction, energy, and mining industries. This year more than 5,000 students joined teachers, volunteers, and school administrators at the expo. OSHA safety and health professionals and whistleblower investigators provided information and educational material.
National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 8-12
OSHA is collaborating with the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, state of Georgia, and local governments and employers to support safety stand-down events during National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 8-12. The event focuses on safety hazards workers face during road improvement and repair projects. The kickoff event will be held at the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., on April 9 at 11 a.m. Georgia is encouraging employers to stop work voluntarily from 7-8 a.m., one day during the week, to discuss struck-by hazards and best safety practices. Read the news release for more information, and visit Georgia’s Struck-By Alliance Safety Stand-Down page.
Free Safety and Health Training at Safety Fest Tennessee
Tennessee OSHA is co-sponsoring Safety Fest Tennessee April 29-May 3 in Oak Ridge and Knoxville to provide free workplace safety and health training. Class topics include fall prevention, chain saw safety, recordkeeping, and OSHA hazardous waste operations. Visit the Safety Fest TN website to register for classes.
Iowa On-Site Consultation Program Helps Company Reduce Injuries and Costs
Carroll Coolers Inc. (CCI), a manufacturer of retail ice equipment and walk-in coolers and freezers, contacted Iowa OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program for help lowering injury and illness rates and improving overall workplace safety. Working with state consultants, CCI implemented new worker training methods and formed a safety committee that includes workers from all levels of the organization. Reducing reportable injuries and improving safety conditions at CCI contributed to lowering workers’ compensation premiums. The company is a participant in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. For more details, read the success story.
Partnership to Enhance Workplace Safety and Health at Texas Construction Project
OSHA and Lee Lewis Construction recently signed a partnership agreement to help protect workers during construction of the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences in Lubbock, Texas. The partnership will focus on preventing fall, electrical, trenching and excavation, struck-by, and caught-between hazards. The partners will also encourage contractors and subcontractors to exchange information on hazards identified during construction activities.
OSHA Alliance Partners Commit to Improving Worker Safety and Health
- The Brewers Association, Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and the Colorado Brewers Guild signed a two-year agreement to help protect the health and safety of workers in Colorado’s brewing industry. Participants will provide information and training resources on preventing exposure to hazards during the brewing, storing, containerizing, handling, and delivery of beer.
- The Colorado Contractors Association signed a two-year agreement to help protect the health and safety of construction workers. Participants will provide information and training resources on preventing exposure to work zone, fall, trenching and excavation, electrical, and silica hazards.
- The National Association of Minority Contractors-Dallas Fort Worth Chapter signed a two-year agreement to provide information and training resources on preventing exposure to fall and struck-by hazards, and understanding workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities.
- The Suncoast Utility Contractors Association renewed a five-year agreement to address underground utility construction hazards, such as digging trenches and excavations, and entering confined spaces.
- The United Safety Council renewed a five-year agreement to develop safety and health programs related to workplace violence, first aid, CPR, and automated external defibrillators. The participants will continue to communicate these programs to hard-to-reach groups, that include non-English speaking and youth workers.
SAFETY AND HEALTH RESOURCES
Featured Video: Controlling Respirable Silica Exposure in Construction
OSHA requires employers to limit workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica on the job. A video launched in January 2019 focuses on handheld power saws, showing how an integrated water delivery system controls silica dust created when cutting certain materials.