May 08, 2019 • Volume 18, Issue 8 • A twice monthly newsletter with information about workplace safety and health.
National Safety Stand-Down Kicks Off with Event in Texas
The sixth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction kicked off on May 6, 2019, with an event in Arlington, Texas. Acting Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt spoke at the construction site for the Texas Rangers’ new stadium. This event will be one of many throughout the week of May 6-10.
OSHA anticipates that millions of workers on thousands of worksites will observe the safety Stand-Down. The agency’s fall prevention webpage provides information on how to conduct a successful event and educational resources in English and Spanish. Falls from elevation is one of the leading causes of fatalities for construction workers.
If you are participating, please share your Stand-Down story on social media, with the hashtag: #StandDown4Safety. For more on the Stand-Down, see the news release.
Meeting on Whistleblower Protection Takes Place May 14
OSHA will hold a public meeting on May 14 in Washington, D.C., to seek public input on improving whistleblower customer service and enhancing understanding of whistleblower laws that the agency enforces. For more information, see the Federal Register Notice.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces $10.5 Million in Worker Safety and Health Training Grants
The U.S. Department of Labor announced that $10.5 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants are available in the areas of targeted topic training, training and educational materials development, and capacity building. Applications will be accepted from nonprofit organizations including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities. Applications must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on July 2, 2019. Details on the grants and how to apply are available at Grants.gov.
California Fines Contractor after Worker Seriously Injured
California OSHA issued four citations and $63,560 in penalties to Mercer-Fraser Co. after a worker driving a truck collided with a front end loader and suffered a serious head injury. Inspectors determined that the company failed to require seat belt use, develop and implement safe practices for workers operating haul trucks, and ensure that trucks were operated at safe speeds.
Colorado Hospital Cited for Exposing Staff to Workplace Violence Hazards
Highlands Behavioral Healthcare System was cited for failing to implement adequate safety measures to protect staff from workplace violence. Inspectors found multiple documented incidents of worker injuries from violent acts at the psychiatric treatment facility. The company faces penalties of $11,934. For more information, read the news release.
Iowa Cites Popcorn Company for Safety and Health Violations
Iowa OSHA issued nine citations and $47,513 in penalties to American Pop Corn Co. for failing to train workers, ensure that proper lockout/tagout procedures were followed, use machine guarding, and develop and implement safe confined space procedures.
Mississippi Plastics Manufacturer Cited after Worker Suffers Amputation
Heritage Plastics, Inc., was cited for lockout/tagout violations after a worker’s fingers were amputated while operating a mixing machine. The company was also cited for failing to install machine guarding and train workers on procedures to prevent the release of hazardous energy. OSHA initiated an inspection as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Amputations. Proposed penalties total $159,118. For more information, read the news release.
New Hampshire Furniture Manufacturer Cited after Worker Injury
OSHA cited DCI, Inc., after a worker suffered serious injuries from being pulled into a woodcutting machine. The furniture manufacturer faces $378,488 in penalties for 37 violations of workplace safety and health standards. Inspectors found that a supervisor had disabled a light curtain on the machine, preventing the machine from stopping when an individual comes too close to its point of operation. For details, read the news release.
Pennsylvania Contractors Cited for Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards
Navy Contractors, Inc., faces $603,850 in fines after inspectors observed workers at three jobsites performing framing work without fall protection. The framing contractor was cited for failing to provide fall protection equipment and training, improper use of ladders, deficiencies in walking-working surfaces, and inadequate fire protection. The general contractor, Storm Guard of Ches-Mont, Inc., was also cited for failing to provide fall protection. Read the news release for more information.
Contractor Cited for Disregarding Fall Protection Requirements at Pennsylvania Worksite
Brutus Construction, Inc., was cited for exposing workers to fall and other safety hazards after an inspector observed workers performing roofing activities without fall protection. Proposed penalties total $181,699. OSHA has previously cited the company for similar hazards. Read the news release for more information.
Whistleblower Awarded $40,000 in Damages Following Investigation of Pennsylvania Foundry
A U.S. district court jury awarded $40,000 to a former employee of Fairmount Foundry, Inc. An OSHA whistleblower investigation determined that the company fired the employee in retaliation for reporting alleged safety and health hazards to OSHA. For more information, read the news release.
Jury Finds Pennsylvania Company Wrongfully Terminated Two Employees for Participating in OSHA Investigation
A U.S. district court jury found that Lloyd Industries, Inc., and its owner unlawfully terminated two employees because of their involvement in an OSHA safety investigation. One employee was fired after suffering an amputation, which prompted an OSHA investigation. A manager was fired because the company believed that he cooperated with OSHA’s investigation. For more information, see the news release and visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs website.
SAFETY AND HEALTH OUTREACH
Safety Professionals Updated on OSHA Operations and Policies
OSHA hosted members of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) at the agency’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., last month. ASSP members were given an overview of the missions and responsibilities of the directorates within OSHA, as well as updates on the agency’s latest initiatives.
#MySafeSummerJob Continues Through May 17
Join OSHA in raising awareness of ways to keep young workers safe at summer jobs. Slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of injury to young workers. Most are easily preventable – some by taking simple steps to clean up spills, move clutter out of walkways, and wear proper footwear. #MySafeSummerJob includes materials for use by any organization in helping spread the word about the safety and health of young workers.
OSHA Participates in Georgia Work Zone Safety Events
OSHA, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the state of Georgia, and local government employers sponsored safety stand-down events during National Work Zone Awareness Week. The week-long effort encouraged employers at Georgia construction sites to pause work voluntarily one day during the week to review best safety practices and discuss struck-by hazards. More than 1,000 workers participated in events.
On-Site Consultation Program Helps New York Chemical Company Reduce Injuries
KIC Chemicals, Inc., worked with OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program to identify and abate hazards at its New Paltz, N.Y., facility and to develop an effective safety and health program. Consultants helped the company institute a safety-first culture among workers by establishing training programs, weekly and monthly inspections, and a safety committee. KIC experienced no recordable injuries in five of the last seven years and was accepted into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. For more information, read the success story.
Partnerships Enhance Workplace Safety and Health at Construction Projects
- The United Association of Journeymen Plumbing, Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada Union, and Holder Construction signed an agreement to promote worker safety and health during construction of a data center in Huntsville, Alabama. The partners will address the use of personal protective equipment, heat illness prevention, fire prevention, and silica hazards. Read the news release for more information.
- H.J. High Construction and the Haskell Co. signed an agreement to promote worker safety and health during the construction of a project in Boynton Beach, Florida. For more information, read the news release.
- Shawmut Design and Construction Co. signed an agreement to promote worker safety and health during the construction of a school in Miami, Florida. Read the news release for more information.
- The Walsh Construction Company II, LLC, signed an agreement to promote worker safety and health during the demolition, remodeling, and construction of a bridge in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The partnership will focus on preventing falls, electrical hazards, heat stress, and silica exposure. For more information, read the news release.
- Alvin H. Butz, Inc., signed an agreement to promote workplace safety during the expansion of a medical device manufacturing facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The partnership seeks to educate workers about how to control or eliminate hazards, and establish effective safety and health programs. Read the news release for more information.
OSHA Alliance Partners Commit to Improving Worker Safety and Health
- The Safety Alliance - Jacksonville Chapter signed a two-year agreement to help protect workers by preventing exposure to fall, electrical, struck-by, and caught-in-between hazards.
- The Illinois Funeral Directors Association signed a two-year agreement to protect the health and safety of workers in the funeral industry by preventing exposure to chemicals, bloodborne pathogens, walking-working surfaces, and electrical hazards.