November 16, 2018 • Volume 17, Issue 22 • A twice monthly newsletter with information about workplace safety and health.
OSHA Issues Final Rule on Crane Operator Certification Requirements
OSHA issued a final rule that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators. Under the final rule, employers are required to train, certify/license, and evaluate operators to safely perform crane activities. Operators can be certified based on either the crane's type and capacity, or type only, ensuring that more accredited testing organizations are eligible to meet OSHA's certification program requirements. Most requirements in the final rule will become effective on Dec. 9, 2018. The evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on Feb. 7, 2019. For more information, see the news release.
OSHA Resources Can Help Workers Stay Safe During Holiday Season
Retailers and other businesses temporarily increase staffing levels to accommodate the busy holiday shopping season. OSHA has resources to help keep warehouse employees, tractor trailer drivers, and forklift operators safe as they work to get merchandise to people's home. Retailers are encouraged to follow crowd control safety guidelines, such as using trained security personnel or rope lines for customers. For more information, visit OSHA's Holiday Workplace Safety webpage.
Massachusetts Contractor Cited for Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards
Northeast Framing, Inc., was cited for exposing workers to serious hazards after a fatal fall at a construction worksite. OSHA cited the company for failing to provide adequate fall protection; train employees to recognize and avoid fall, ladder, electrical, and other hazards; conduct regular jobsite safety inspections; and notify OSHA of a work-related fatality. The company faces $311,330 in penalties, the maximum allowed by law. Read the news release for more information.
Employers at Georgia Distribution Center Cited after Worker Fatally Injured
OSHA cited Dollar Tree Distribution Center, Inc., and U.S. Xpress, Inc., for exposing workers to hazards after an employee was fatally struck by a forklift. Both companies were cited for failing to ensure that employees wore high-visibility vests while working at night. OSHA cited Dollar Tree for using a vehicle with a non-functioning headlight, failing to provide machine guarding, and improperly stacking materials on racks. Dollar Tree faces $130,112 in penalties; and U.S. Xpress' penalties total $12,934. For more information, read the news release.
Alabama Tank Cleaning Company Cited for Confined Space, Fire, and Explosion Hazards
American Remediation and Environmental, Inc., was cited after OSHA inspectors determined that the company allowed employees to enter a tank without testing for atmospheric hazards. The company was cited for confined space, fire, and explosion hazards, and faces $171,281 in penalties. Read the news release for more information.
Florida Roofing Contractor Cited for Exposing Employees to Fall Hazards
OSHA cited Crown Roofing, LLC, for exposing employees to fall hazards, including installing roofing materials without the use of a fall protection system. The roofing contractor was issued the maximum allowable penalty of $129,336. The inspection was initiated as part of the Regional Emphasis Program on Falls. Crown Roofing has been cited 13 times since 2014 for similar hazards. Read the news release for more information.
Texas Underground Tank Contractor Cited for Excavation Hazards
UST Systems, Inc., was cited for exposing workers to excavation hazards while preparing a trench for an underground storage tank. Inspectors found that the company allowed workers to enter the trench without proper protections or training on the dangers of unsupported soil walls. UST Systems faces $35,844 in penalties. For more information, read the news release.
Texas Metal Recycling Company Cited after Employee Suffers Injury
Venture Metals, LLC, faces $311,580 in penalties after a worker was hospitalized when a stack of pipes fell on him. Inspectors determined that the company also failed to implement methods to control lead exposure, train workers in lockout/tagout procedures, and follow confined space entry permit procedures. The company was cited for similar violations in 2016. Read the news release for more information.
Missouri Plumbing Contractor Admits to Violating Trench Safety Requirements
Arrow Plumbing, LLC, admitted to willfully violating OSHA standards by failing to use trench boxes or other trench protection techniques at a construction site. An employee suffered fatal injuries when an unprotected trench collapsed. Under terms of a stipulation and settlement agreement, the company – and its successor R2 Plumbing, LLC – agreed to implement several safety enhancements. These include hiring a safety consultant to implement a trench safety program and conduct safety and health audits; providing extensive training for employees; and reporting trenching-related incidents and near misses to OSHA. The company will also pay a civil penalty of $225,000. For more information, read the news release.
Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Cites Botanical Gardens after Fatal Incident
The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division issued five citations and $57,040 in penalties to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens after a worker was fatally injured when he was thrown from a riding mower that then landed on him. Inspectors determined that the employer failed to assess hazards and did not require workers to wear seat belts while riding on landscaping equipment.
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Fines Construction Company for Safety Violations
California OSHA issued nine citations and $141,075 in penalties to Bay Construction Co. after a worker was fatally struck by a rail being removed from an excavation. Inspectors concluded that the company failed to train workers, provide appropriate personal protective equipment, and ensure workers removing trench support systems were protected from struck-by hazards.
OSHA Holds Whistleblower Stakeholder Meeting
In October, OSHA held a Whistleblower Protection Program Stakeholder Meeting focusing on the financial industry. Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt welcomed stakeholders from the financial sector, who advised the agency on how it can better deliver whistleblower customer service. This was the second meeting requesting public input on the Whistleblower Protection Program. The first meeting, held in June, focused on the trucking and railroad industries.
Contractors Association Hosts Series of Sessions on Construction Worker Safety and Health
As part of its ongoing "Eggs with OSHA" program, the General Building Contractors Association in Philadelphia, has hosted more than 200 members of the construction industry to discuss ways to enhance a safety culture in Philadelphia area construction projects. During these events, OSHA staff provide updates on the agency's initiatives and regulations, inspection process, and Cooperative Programs, with an emphasis on Voluntary Protection Programs.
On-Site Consultation Program Helps Pennsylvania Steel Manufacturer Reduce Injuries and Costs
Metal parts manufacturer Phoenix Sintered Metals, LLC, contacted OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program for help improving the company's safety and health policies and procedures. After correcting hazards identified by the consultants, Phoenix instituted additional safety trainings and audits, enhanced its safety and health program, and established a safety and health information board for employees. Since working with the consultation program, the company's recordable injury rate dropped to below one third the national industry average. This helped Phoenix reduce the cost of workers' compensation claims from $26,765 in 2014 to $803 in 2017. The company is now a part of the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. For more information read the success story.
OSHA Alliance Partners Commit to Improving Worker Safety and Health
- The American Industrial Hygiene Association renewed a five-year agreement to protect the health and safety of workers, including young and temporary workers; and address workplace hazards in emerging industries; disaster preparedness, response, and recovery; and opioids in the workplace.
- The Colorado Hospital Association renewed a four-year agreement to provide its members with information and training resources on employee and patient care safety that will help protect workers in the healthcare industry.
SAFETY AND HEALTH RESOURCES
Worker Participation Can Help Create Safer Workplaces
It is important to engage workers at all levels in establishing, implementing, and improving safety and health in the workplace. Workers should understand that they are a valuable partner in making their workplace safer and be encouraged and able to communicate with management about hazards on the job. For more information on how to recognize workers or teams for contributions to workplace safety, read our fact sheet.
New Publication on Lockout/Tagout Addresses Safety for Temporary Workers
A new OSHA bulletin on lockout/tagout explains the joint responsibility of host employers and staffing agencies to ensure that temporary employees are properly protected against the sudden release of stored energy. Prior to beginning work, both employers should review the task assignments and job hazards to identify, eliminate, and control the release of hazardous energy before workers perform service or maintenance on machinery. This is part of a series of guidance documents that focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements for temporary workers.
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