|August 31, 2012 · Volume 11, Issue 19|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In this issue
OSHA has cited Waste Management of Trenton and Labor Ready Northeast Inc. of Ewing for one serious violation each of OSHA's general duty clause following a heat-related fatality in June. OSHA initiated an inspection after a Labor Ready Northeast temporary employee working for Waste Management as a garbage collection worker died while picking up trash on a collection route in Hopewell Borough.
OSHA found that neither Labor Ready nor Waste Management trained their employees to recognize and respond to heat related illness, nor did they provide sufficient training or implement procedures to minimize or mitigate the risk of developing heat related illness. Read the press release for more details.
Monro Muffler Brake Inc., which operates a chain of more than 800 stores that provide automotive repair and tire services throughout the eastern United States, has reached an enterprise-wide settlement agreement with OSHA in which it will institute procedures to protect its workers against being crushed or struck by automotive hydraulic lifts.
In September 2011, OSHA cited the company's Stoughton location for improperly inspecting and maintaining hydraulic lifts, as well as other hazards, following an April 2011 incident in which a lift failure caused a car to fall to the ground. Monro initially contested these citations but has now agreed to address the issue – and not just at the Stoughton location, but companywide. Under the agreement, Monro will develop and implement an inspection and maintenance program for all automotive lifts at all of its federal OSHA-covered work sites. The program will comply with industry standards and include periodic inspections by qualified inspectors, procedures to remedy any potentially unsafe conditions, mandatory training for lift operators and the submission of written compliance reports to OSHA. Monro also will pay a fine of $12,500 for the violations identified at the Stoughton location. For more information, read the press release.
The North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) has cited Smithfield Packing Co. in Clinton for 17 safety and health violations, including failing to provide workers with personal protective equipment and training to protect themselves from exposure to hazardous chemicals. North Carolina DOL initiated safety and health inspections February 18, 2012, after a worker died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas as he filled a tanker with liquid sludge. Proposed penalties from both inspections total $251,250.
Willful violations include not providing respirators when equipment was necessary to protect workers and employee training to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical. Serious violations cited include failing to provide personal protection equipment, exposing workers to struck-by hazards and falls from height. For more information, visit the North Carolina State Plan page.
OSHA will extend for three months its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. The temporary enforcement measures, now extended through December 15, 2012, include priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to ensure consistency, and increased outreach. Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace death in construction.
OSHA has been working closely with the industry to assist employers in complying with the new directive. Since October 1, 2011, OSHA's On-site Consultation Projects performed more than 2,500 on-site visits, conducted 925 training sessions, and delivered 438 presentations related to fall protection in residential construction. OSHA’s regional and area offices also conducted more than 800 outreach activities on the directive. The agency will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy.
OSHA will continue to develop materials to assist the industry, including a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance, which are available on the Web pages for residential construction and the Fall Prevention Campaign.
OSHA has published criteria for removing employers from the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). SVEP has been in effect since June 18, 2010, and focuses agency resources on employers who demonstrate indifference to their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act with willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.
An employer may be considered for removal from the program by an OSHA Regional Administrator after a period of three years from the date of the final disposition of the SVEP inspection citation items to include: failure to contest, settlement agreement, Review Commission final order, or court of appeals decision. Employers must also affirm all violations have been abated, all final penalties have been paid, all settlement provisions have been completed and abided by, and no additional serious citations have been incurred related to the hazards identified in the SVEP inspection at the initial establishment or at any related establishments. Read the news release and the memorandum for further details regarding these removal criteria.
Time is running out to submit entries for the Worker Safety & Health App Challenge at www.challenge.gov. The challenge is to use publicly available government information (i.e., DOL/OSHA data, NIOSH data, and other online government resources) to educate young workers on the safety and health risks and their rights in real work scenarios. The deadline to enter your app is September 16.
A panel of judges that includes Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the popular Discovery Channel show "Myth Busters," will award $15,000 for the "Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award," $6,000 for the "Safety and Health Data Award" and $6,000 for the "Workers' Rights Award." There is also a "People's Choice Award" of $3,000 for the developer of the app that receives the most public votes on the website. For more information about the prizes and the competition guidelines, watch a short video, visit the challenge page, and read Dr. Michaels' most recent blog.
Since launching the Preventing Falls in Construction campaign in April, OSHA's Regional and Area Offices have been getting the message of "Safety Pays, Falls Cost" out to tens of thousands of employers, workers and other stakeholders.
Across the country, OSHA's Free On-site Consultation Program and compliance assistance specialists have conducted more than one thousand workshops, presentations, site visits, and radio and TV interviews. OSHA's specialists have participated in phone banks, staffed information booths at community events, visited with foreign consulates, distributed educational materials, and conducted many other outreach activities to explain that falls can be prevented when employers follow a three-step process — Plan, Provide and Train.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, but these deaths are preventable. Learn more about OSHA's Fall Prevention campaign, and watch Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis' public service announcement at www.osha.gov/stopfalls. OSHA also has numerous educational resources available in multiple languages, including stickers, wallet cards, fact sheets, and posters. To order these or any of OSHA's outreach materials, call OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA's Publications page.
The National Weather Service is forecasting hotter-than-average temperatures to continue in much of the country over the next week, possibly putting outdoor workers at risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. A useful tool for getting vital safety information about working outdoors in extreme temperatures is OSHA's free Heat Safety Tool mobile app, already downloaded by nearly 52,000 mobile phone users. The app is available in both English and Spanish and is compatible with iPhone, Blackberry, and Android phones.
Meanwhile, throughout the country, OSHA staff are on hand to provide expert guidance to workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. In Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas, OSHA compliance officers operated three phone banks in Spanish on local Univision stations, taking questions from the public and providing information on the campaign. Learn more about staying safe while working in the heat with OSHA's heat illness prevention materials. Order copies in English or Spanish by calling OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or by visiting OSHA's Publications page.
OSHA has issued a direct final rule and notice of proposed rulemaking that applies the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to demolition work and underground construction. The application of this rule will protect workers from hazards associated with hoisting equipment used during construction activities.
The direct final rule will apply the same crane rules to underground construction and demolition that are already being used by other construction sectors, and will streamline OSHA's standards by eliminating the separate cranes and derricks standard currently used for underground and demolition work. The rulemaking also corrects several errors introduced in the 2010 rulemaking to make it easier for workers and employers to understand and implement these standards.
The direct final rule will become effective November 15, 2012, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by September 17. Individuals may submit comments electronically, by fax or by mail. See the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register and read the news release for further details.
On August 10, OSHA issued a revised directive (PDF) providing enforcement guidance for inspections of longshoring operations and at marine terminals, also known as the marine cargo handling industry.
The new "Tool Shed" directive clarifies what kinds of personal protect equipment (PPE) employers must provide at no cost to their workers, as well as the circumstances when employers must pay for replacing PPE. The directive also provides information and guidance on regulations for Vertical Tandem Lifts (VTLs). For more information, read the news release and visit OSHA's Maritime Industry Safety and Health Topics page.
For this year's Labor Rights Week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis selected the theme "Promoting Labor Rights is Everyone's Responsibility." Held August 27-31, this year's events included regional activities designed to educate migrant workers and employers about U.S. labor laws.
"When employers follow our labor laws, workers are more productive and businesses can grow. When the rights of workers are respected, it helps our economy," said Secretary Solis in her video message.
During Labor Rights Week, the Labor Department and consulates representing ten countries worked together to educate migrant workers and their employers about laws administered by OSHA and the department’s Wage and Hour Division. A series of training events, workshops and information-sharing programs were held to distribute information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws and resources available to workers and employers.
In one such event, OSHA's Region II office signed agreements to protect the rights of migrant workers with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, and Honduras, and welcomed representatives from Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua. To learn more about programs that protect migrant workers, visit the Labor Department's website.
Workplace safety and health was front and center on August 20 at the 28th Annual National Conference of the Voluntary Protection Program Participants' Association (VPPPA) meeting in Anaheim, Calif. The VPPPA welcomed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab as their keynote speaker. In his speech, Barab praised OSHA's VPP worksites for their dedication to workplace safety, and the pride many companies take in their health and safety achievements.
"It is chiefly because of the example you set for all American workplaces that the VPP can continue to rely on the full support of OSHA and the Department of Labor," Barab said. He praised outgoing Executive Director Davis Layne and presented the VPPPA's 8th Annual Special Government Employee of the year award to Jon Alexander, the contractor/guest safety lead for Monsanto World Headquarters in St. Louis.
Barab also addressed the recent assessment of the program by OSHA's VPP Review Team, which recommends a number of changes to maintain the integrity of the program. Created in April, 2011, by Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels and Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax, the VPP Review Team is comprised of representatives from OSHA's Regional and National Offices. The VPP Review Team was directed to conduct a review of the VPP operations and to make recommendations to the Assistant Secretary to enhance the program. Their report recommends improvements to the consistency and efficiency of VPP review operations, while maintaining the integrity of the VPP. For more information about VPP, visit OSHA's VPP page, see the VPP review team’s report, and read Assistant Secretary Barab’s speech for the 2012 VPPPA Conference.
Individuals seeking authorization to become OSHA Maritime Industry Outreach Trainers must complete a new workplace safety and health course. Effective October 1, 2012, prospective maritime industry trainers must complete OSHA Course #5410 Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Maritime Industry.
The OSHA Maritime courses focus on eliminating needless injuries and deaths by sharing methods of finding and fixing deadly industry hazards like falls, confined spaces, electrical hazards, machine guarding and welding/hot work. The new required course, developed by the OSHA Directorate of Training and Education and offered through authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, focuses on maritime industry standards related to longshoring, marine terminals, and shipyard employment. Prospective trainers can access the course, training locations, registration and other information on OSHA's searchable course schedule Web page or visit the Outreach Training Program for the Maritime Industry Web page.
OSHA has renewed its Alliance with the National Safety Council (NSC) to continue enhancing worker safety and health by addressing construction hazards, injury and illness prevention programs and motor vehicle safety.
During the two-year agreement, the Alliance will develop fact sheets on injury and illness prevention programs, hazard identification, worker training, fall prevention and best practices for reporting near misses. The Alliance will also develop a case study on preventing falls from heights in construction, focusing on the causes of fall protection failures and how employers can assure an effective and reliable fall prevention program. More information about this and other OSHA Alliances is available in the news release and on OSHA’s Alliance Program page.
On August 13, OSHA and the Society of Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC) welcomed more than 5,600 participants to a free webinar on implementing OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard in the United States.
The webinar, developed as part of OSHA's alliance with SCHC, explained changes to the Hazard Communication Standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). During the webinar, OSHA staff provided information and answered questions from chemical manufacturers, downstream users, and other interested parties. Topics included changes expected in training, labeling, and safety data sheets and compliance assistance opportunities. To learn more about the revised Hazard Communication and the Globally Harmonized System, see OSHA’s Hazard Communication page and read the QuickTakes special issue on GHS.
A new Maine Department of Labor report indicates that more than 13 percent of healthcare workplace injuries result from patient aggression. The aggressive acts resulting in worker injuries included hitting, biting and kicking. Workers frequently sustained injuries while trying to restrain their patients and clients.
The research on violent or aggressive actions by mental health patients, nursing home and residential care clients, general hospital patients, adults and children with disabilities and individuals being treated for substance abuse target workers in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry. The Research and Statistics Unit of Maine’s Department of Labor compiled this data from the First Reports of Injury of the Workers' Compensation Board 2011 database. Their study (PDF) found that in 2011, more than 1,300 workers in healthcare or rehabilitation settings were hurt on the job by a patient or client.
OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on Workplace Violence explains risk factors, provides training materials, and offers additional information about preventing violence in the workplace. OSHA's Healthcare page can provide further resources about workplace hazards and preventative measures for the healthcare industry.
As Tropical Storm Isaac continues its path from the Gulf Coast into the Southeast and Midwest, OSHA has educational materials for those in affected parts of the country. Visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics pages to learn about Flood and Hurricane Preparedness and Response.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported an increase in West Nile virus infections in the United States, including more than 1,500 cases in people and at least 65 deaths. West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Workers at risk include farmers, foresters, landscapers, gardeners, painters, construction workers, mechanics, and other outdoor workers. Preventing mosquito bites reduces risk to outdoor workers. Learn about preventing infection with OSHA's West Nile Virus Fact Sheet (PDF) and QuickCard (PDF) and visit the CDC's Fight the Bite! website for additional resources and frequent updates.
OSHA and the Department of Labor invite you to explore the special Labor Day website, a collection of labor-related news and resources in recognition of the strength, prosperity, and well-being that workers bring to our nation.
See DOL's weekly electronic newsletter for more DOL news.
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