|May 15, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 10|
In this issue
With the summer job season right around the corner and new workers preparing to enter the workforce, OSHA has many safety and health resources for young workers, their parents, employers and educators. Information and resources on workers' rights and summer job safety are available on OSHA's Young Workers page and on the Wage and Hour Division's YouthRules! page. In addition, brochures for young workers on landscaping and retail work are available through OSHA's interagency workgroup, the Federal Network for Young Worker Safety and Health. Both of FedNet's brochures are also available in Spanish (Agorra la Onda for landscaping and Seguridad Hace Sentido for retail safety).
Workers under the age of 25 are twice as likely to be injured on the job as older workers and are often unaware of their workplace rights. To help spread the word to young workers in your area about job hazards and workplace safety and health rights, order OSHA's I Have Rights poster. For those young workers who may be doing summer work in the grain industry, OSHA also has information on safe grain handling practices for young workers, including a pocket-sized card on the dangers of grain engulfment. To order any OSHA publications, call OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999.
OSHA is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program to fund training and education for workers and employers in recognizing workplace safety and health hazards and prevention measures, and understanding their rights and responsibilities. Target audiences include underserved and low-literacy workers, as well as those in high-hazard industries.
"The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that businesses and workers are aware of and can prevent safety and health hazards," said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. "These grants will fund programs that will supply hard-to-reach workers, those in high-hazard industries and small businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to support safe and healthful workplaces."
Two types of safety and health training grants will be awarded: targeted topic training grants and training and educational materials development grants. Both types of grants are for one year and support the development of quality training materials and programs for workers and employers addressing workplace hazards and prevention strategies. OSHA has designated the following topics: fall protection in construction, agricultural safety including grain handling operations, hair and nail salon hazards, ergonomic hazards, hazard communication for/and chemical exposure, injury and illness prevention programs, and work place violence. See the news release for more information.
OSHA has developed a webinar to assist prospective applicants in understanding the application process, which will be available on OSHA's Web site. Applications must be submitted and received electronically no later than 4:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 13, 2013. To register to apply and view the grant solicitation, visit www.grants.gov.
The American Society of Safety Engineers honored Jeremy Bethancourt, who has provided safety and health training to thousands of workers during his 20 years in the construction industry, at the May 6 kick-off event for this year's North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. Bethancourt received the first annual Triangle Award for Heroic Dedication, which recognizes safety, health and environmental professionals who go beyond their normally assigned duties to prevent or minimize physical injury, loss of life or substantial property damage in a workplace. The award commemorates the 146 victims of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City.
In 2006, Bethancourt played a key role in developing and implementing strengthened fall protection procedures for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based LeBlanc Building Co. Inc. Since then, eleven construction workers employed by LeBlanc have had falls arrested, saving them from likely serious injury or death. Bethancourt went on to promote the use of conventional fall protection throughout the construction industry. When accepting the Triangle Award, Bethancourt said "Fall protection is a moral choice" as well as a legal obligation for every employer.
The award presentation was part of the NAOSH Week 2013 launch hosted by OSHA at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. Representatives from professional occupational safety associations in Canada, the United States and Mexico also addressed those in attendance and young winners of ASSE's poster contest displayed their designs inspired by this year's theme, "Safety Works for Everyone."
For more information on NAOSH Week 2013 and to view the winning posters, visit www.asse.org/newsroom/naosh/
OSHA has teamed up with the Massachusetts Consultation Program to deliver a series of fall protection outreach seminars as part of OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. The training program includes discussions with employers, visits to building supply houses and local building departments, and equipment demonstrations on feasible means to prevent and abate fall hazards.
The Massachusetts Consultation Program also worked with OSHA to have Fall Prevention Campaign posters on Massachusetts buses and subways so riders can learn about the nationwide campaign to prevent fatal falls in construction. OSHA's fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda program (NORA) - Construction Sector.
The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld a lower court ruling that found the OSH Act and OSHA's crane standard do not preempt New York City's ordinances that regulate the operation of cranes. The ruling sided against an appeal by the Steel Institute of New York, a trade group representing construction contractors. The industry claimed that federal regulations trump city regulations, and industry shouldn't be subject to two sets of competing rules designed for the same purpose. The court disagreed, concluding that while OSHA regulations protect workers, the primary purpose and effect of the city regulations are to protect public safety. For more information, read the court's decision.
OSHA has cited AmeriGas Propane L.P. with 21 serious violations following a November 2012 fire that required three workers to be hospitalized and four workers to be treated and released. The Conroe plant inspection was expanded to include the national emphasis program on Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities. Proposed penalties total $105,000.
The company was cited under the process safety management standard for violations including failing to compile process safety information for safety systems, such as emergency shutdowns; ensure equipment complies with recognized and good engineering practices, such as relief systems; address various elements of a process safety hazards analysis; and perform the lockout/tagout of equipment and processes and provide training for employees in the use of lockout/tagout. For a complete list of citations, read the press release. Additional information about process safety management is available on OSHA's PSM Web page.
OSHA has cited Phoenix Industrial Cleaning for 28 serious safety violations following the death of a worker who fell from a ladder inside of a storage tank after being overcome by methylene chloride vapors at a chemical manufacturing facility in Wheeling on Nov. 29, 2012.
Serious violations were cited for failing to: develop and implement a confined space entry program for workers cleaning chemical storage tanks; train workers on acceptable entry conditions; provide testing and monitoring equipment for atmospheric hazards; evaluate the respiratory hazards present and select appropriate respiratory protection based on those hazards; provide workers with information and training on the hazards associated with methylene chloride, and assess exposure and provide effective protective garments. Proposed fines total $77,200. Read the press release for more details and a link to OSHA's Web page on confined spaces.
OSHA has cited Garland Sales Inc. with 15 serious safety violations after a November 2012 inspection of the company's Dalton facility was conducted as part of the agency’s national emphasis program on amputations. Proposed penalties total $73,000.
The company was cited for exposing workers to chemical hazards by not developing or implementing a written hazard communication program prior to using chemicals, electrical shock hazards due to improperly marked and assembled electrical control panels, caught-in and struck-by hazards related to unguarded and improperly secured machinery and tripping and burn hazards due to obstructed fire extinguishers. Additional citations were issued for failing to establish or implement a lockout/tagout program with machine-specific procedures and allowing workers to operate forklifts without certifying they were properly trained and evaluated. Read the press release for additional information.
OSHA and the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic in New York have formed an Alliance to protect the safety and health of Dominican nationals and others working in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The Alliance agreement (y en Español) establishes a collaborative relationship to promote workers’ rights to a safe and healthful workplace, particularly with regards to preventing exposure to falls, electrical hazards, struck-by injuries, noise and chemical hazards, and to help them understand the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
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 has established a strategic partnership with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and W.E. O'Neil Construction Co. to reduce construction workers' exposure to hazards and potential serious injuries during construction of the William Eckert Research Center at the University of Chicago. As the general contractor on the project, W.E. O'Neil Construction Co. will develop a site-specific safety program and require all prime contractors on the project to provide on-site safety representatives, conduct regular safety audits, attend a specific safety orientation given by O'Neil personnel and conduct daily huddle and safety meetings to share safety concerns and implement best practices.
"This voluntary strategic partnership is focused on identifying and controlling hazards, improving safety and health programs, promoting a cooperative relationship between labor, unions and management, and encouraging employee participation in achieving a safe and healthful workplace during the construction of this research center," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City.
For more information on this partnership and a link to OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program Web page, read the press release.
Acting Secretary Harris has announced the appointment of two new members and re-appointment of six current members to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health. The committee members will serve two-year terms and represent the interests of the public, employers, employees and government. The 15-member committee meets at least twice a year. The two newly appointed and six re-appointed members will join the seven current members serving the remainder of their terms on the committee.
"Each of the new members brings a wealth of knowledge and real-world experience on a wide range of issues spanning the construction industry. We look forward to their valuable expertise and guidance on how to further improve workplace safety for our nation's construction workers," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupationa Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said following the announcement. Read the news release for more information.
As part of its Alliance with OSHA, the Society of Chemical Hazard Communication will host a free webinar from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 25, 2013. The webinar will focus on classification, labeling, safety data sheets and training, as well as how manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers can meet the compliance requirements during the transition period. Register by July 24 to participate.
By December 1, 2013, all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must conduct new training for workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.
OSHA has prepared a number of materials to assist employers in complying with the new updates. The Hazard Communication Web page explains the changes and contains a number of materials including: a new fact sheet that reviews the new training requirements, new QuickCards that review the new pictogram label requirements and a brief on labels and pictograms.
OSHA's new Chromium Safety and Health Topics Page provides resources to educate employers and workers about the health risks of various forms of chromium.
Occupations that may involve exposure to chromium include painters, abrasive blasting welders, battery, dye and candle makers and cement workers. Chromium exposure can cause asthma, eye irritation and damage, perforated eardrums, respiratory irritation, pulmonary congestion and edema, upper abdominal pain, nose irritation and damage, skin irritation, and erosion and discoloration of the teeth. Chromium exposure can also cause kidney damage, liver damage and respiratory cancer. OSHA's chromium Web page contains a link to the updated OSHA page on hexavalent chromium, as well as fact sheets on controlling exposures to chromium and OSHA requirements for protecting workers from chromium exposures in general industry, shipyards and construction.
Severe weather and natural disasters can produce tornadoes and floods, which create a variety of hazards for workers in the impacted area, especially during emergency response and recovery operations. This webpage includes a summary of the hazards associated with these types of emergencies, and the necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe.
OSHA’s General Industry Digest is now available in Spanish. This booklet summarizes General Industry safety and health standards to help employers, supervisors, workers, health and safety committee members, and safety and health personnel learn about OSHA standards in the workplace. This resource is part of OSHA's recent efforts to provide the country's diverse workforce with information in a language and vocabulary that they can understand.
OSHA has also just made available three fact sheets to help reduce falls in construction through ladder safety: "Safe Use of Extension Ladders," "Safe Use of Job-made Wooden Ladders," and "Safe Use of Stepladders." These fact sheets are available online on OSHA's Ladder Safety publications page.
To help keep workers in the maritime industry safe and healthy on the job, two new OSHA QuickCards are now available — "Safe Operation of Semi-tractors in Maritime Terminals" and "Safely Operating and Working Around Cargo Handling Equipment in Marine Terminals." These QuickCards are available online on OSHA's Maritime Industry publications page.
Workers across the nation lost a trusted ally May 3 when Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax retired following a distinguished career with the OSHA. "Rich Fairfax has had a larger impact on OSHA's work, especially our enforcement activities, than any other individual in recent memory," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "I attribute much of our success to his leadership." Fairfax previously served as the director of enforcement programs and acting director of construction programs at OSHA. A certified industrial hygienist, he began his OSHA career in 1978 as a field industrial hygienist. "Rich can retire knowing that because of his work, countless injuries and fatalities have been prevented, and many, many workers have gone home safely to their families at the end of their work shift," added Michaels. Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver, will serve in an acting capacity pending the selection of a replacement.
OSHA is also saying farewell to Charles Adkins, regional administrator for region VII, who retired on May 3. Adkins began his service with the Department of Labor on April 11, 1971, and served as an industrial hygienist and a supervisory industrial hygienist before beginning his tenure as the director of health standards and director of technical support. In 1995, he became regional administrator for OSHA's Kansas City region.
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