|December 16, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 24|
On Dec. 3, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels addressed attendees of the 2013 Oil & Gas Environmental Conference in Dallas, hosted by the University of Texas at Arlington. Michaels applauded the success of OSHA's collaboration with the National STEPS Network on a series of voluntary safety stand-downs at oil and gas worksites in Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota and Texas. The assistant secretary also encouraged participation in the current notices of proposed rulemaking for respirable silica and for recordkeeping, as well as OSHA's recent request for information regarding possible updates to process safety management regulations. The primary goal of the OGEC conference is to achieve better environmental performance and regulatory compliance in the oil and gas industry through the exchange of new ideas and concepts. To learn more about the annual meeting, visit the 2013 conference Web page.
Painting & Decorating Inc. was cited by OSHA for repeat fall and scaffolding hazards following an inspection of a work site in Manhasset, N.Y. The painting and stucco contractor has a long history of fall protection and scaffold safety violations and now faces an additional $460,350 in OSHA fines. OSHA's Long Island Area Office opened an inspection at the work site on March 31 under its local emphasis program aimed at preventing falls in the construction industry. The inspection identified that the employer had failed to protect workers from numerous fall and scaffolding hazards, many of which were similar to those cited during previous OSHA inspections of five other Painting & Decorating work sites during the past several years. Hazards included not having the scaffold inspected for defects by a competent person during erection and before workers began work on the scaffold, not restraining the scaffold against tipping, and a lack of protective helmets. Read the news release for a full list of citations. To learn about OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Fatal Falls in Construction, visit the fall prevention Web page.
OSHA has cited Tim Graboski Roofing Inc. of Delray Beach for four safety violations, including two willful, following the death of a worker. The OSHA citation alleges that on June 27, a worker was electrocuted at a residential jobsite in Boca Raton when his employer directed him to reposition a metal extension ladder in close proximity to overhead electrical power lines that had not been de-energized, grounded or guarded. Later, on July 23, OSHA inspectors passing by a residential work site in Cooper City observed workers exposed to fall hazards, prompting a second inspection. Citations were issued to the employer for hazards including exposing workers to electrocution and falls hazards of approximately 30 feet. Citations carry $154,000 in proposed penalties. Read the news release for the full list of citations and a link to OSHA's fall prevention Web page.
Williams Olefins LLC in Geismar, La., was cited for six process safety management standard violations, including one willful, after an explosion in June killed two workers and injured 80 people. Process safety management encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards proactively that are associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals, in this case, propylene. "Williams Olefins violated safety and health standards which, when followed, can protect workers from hazardous chemicals," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. "It is the employer's responsibility to find and fix workplace safety violations and to ensure the safety of its workers. Failing to do so cost two workers their lives." The employer was cited with a willful violation for failing to develop clear, written procedures for how to change and put idle pressure vessels into service. Proposed penalties total $99,000. For additional details on the case, view the news release. To learn more about President Obama's executive order to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities, visit OSHA's Executive Order 13650 Web page.
Fact sheets on OSHA's proposed rule for respirable silica are now available in both English and Spanish, including information for the construction industry, general industry and maritime, and small businesses. For more information and to read the proposed rulemaking, visit www.osha.gov/silica.
After a worker was fatally injured in 2006 when a tire exploded during mounting, T.O. Haas Tire & Auto reached out to OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program, determined to completely revamp its injury and illness prevention program for all 26 locations in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. OSHA's consultants identified a variety of hazards common among many of the T.O. Haas worksites. In turn the company established safety committees and instituted monthly safety meetings to provide training and review safety policies and procedures. The T.O. Haas safety initiative has since resulted in thousands of dollars in savings, as well as significantly reduced injury rates. See the full story on T.O. Hass' success for details.
On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. Visit OSHA's On-site Consultation page for more details.
A new animated video in OSHA's educational series about potential hazards in the construction industry is now available. "Prevent Electrocutions: Work Safely with Cranes near Power Lines" is the 14th video in the series, which are based on real-life incidents and include detailed depictions of hazards and the safety measures that would have prevented the injuries and fatalities. Available in both English and Spanish, the videos are brief, easy to understand, and geared to the needs of employers and workers. To stream or download the videos, visit OSHA's construction v-tools Web page or the Department of Labor YouTube channel.
OSHA is soliciting applications for its 2014 Graduate Nurse Internship Program. The internship is designed for registered professional nurses who are pursuing a graduate degree in either occupational health nursing or public health with an occupational health focus. Internship rotations are a full-time, consecutive, eight-week educational opportunity suited to the intern's schedule between May and September. Selected interns will have the opportunity to work on projects in support of OSHA's mission and goals. To find application materials and additional information, visit OSHA's website. Questions should be directed to the Office of Occupational Health Nursing at 202-693-2120. Applications must be postmarked no later than Jan. 31, 2014.
A webcast, "Bloodborne Pathogens — What You Need to Know to Prevent Disease Transmission in the Workplace," will be presented by the OSHA and the American Red Cross Alliance on Jan. 8, 2014, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST. The webcast will include an overview of: the BBP Standard and the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, methods of compliance, recordkeeping, compliance determination, exposure control plans, personal protective equipment, and training requirements. Through their alliance, OSHA and the Red Cross are working together to help prepare employers and their workers to respond to disasters, life-threatening injuries and emergencies. Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths. To register for the free webcast, visit: vts.inxpo.com/Launch/QReg.htm?ShowKey=17604&AffiliateData=OSHAeblast.
With cooler temperatures providing some relief from this summer's dangerous heat, it's time to gather stakeholder input on the heat illness prevention campaign. OSHA has developed a brief survey to evaluate the usefulness of the heat illness prevention campaign website and to identify possible modifications for next year. The brief survey will not collect any personal information from visitors – only opinions and evaluations of the heat illness prevention campaign. Did you use the educational resources on the Web? Were the materials useful for the work you do? Let us know!
OSHA wishes you and yours happy holidays and a safe and healthy new year. QuickTakes will not be published on Jan. 1, so please continue to visit the agency's website for news and updates. Look for your next issue of QuickTakes on Jan. 15, 2014.