SafetyNet News and Highlights


December 2011

New tire charts will help workers safely service single-piece and multi-piece rim wheels

OSHA has revised its tire servicing materials to address current hazards in the industry and help workers safely perform maintenance on large vehicle tires. The materials address OSHA's Materials Handling and Storage standard that protects workers who service single-piece and multi-piece rim wheels. Following recent talks with representatives from tire, rubber, and wheel manufacturers, OSHA determined a need for new materials with updates from sources such as the Tire Industry Association. The updated information, available in a portable manual or as three poster-sized charts, is easier to access and use. OSHA's revised "Multi-piece Rim Matching Chart" provides an updated list of current and obsolete components and the old "Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Truck/Bus Tires" chart is now expanded into two charts that deal individually with tubeless and tube-type tires. The revised materials can be downloaded from OSHA's Publications page See the news release for more information.


OSHA orders trucking company to reinstate whistleblower and pay back wages and damages

OSHA ordered Knoxville-based Heartland Transportation Inc. to reinstate a former employee and pay the individual $62,090 in compensatory and punitive damages plus more than two years of back wages, interest, benefits and reasonable attorney's fees. The order follows OSHA's determination that the company violated the employee's rights under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by terminating the employee for complaining about defective vehicles.
The employee had complained about trucks with mechanical failures on a number of occasions, but the problems recurred. He informed his employer that he would not drive trucks with such failures in the future. Soon after this, the driver found that his name had been removed from the driving schedule. He inquired about this development, and was informed that his employment was terminated. The employee then submitted a whistleblower complaint to OSHA. See the news release for more information.


OSHA files whistleblower lawsuit against medical clinic for firing employee who reported hazards

OSHA filed a lawsuit against the Brighton Medical Clinic in Brighton, Colo., and its owner, Dr. Luithuk Zimik, on behalf of an employee who was terminated in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act. The employee had complained about safety and health hazards to the clinic's management staff before filing a formal complaint about the hazards with OSHA. The employee was later discharged and then filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA. The agency's Whistleblower Protection Program conducted an investigation and determined the former employee's allegations had merit. After being notified of OSHA's findings, the defendants refused to reinstate the employee to the same or a substantially equivalent position and to pay back wages or other employment benefits. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, OSHA's complaint seeks to reinstate the employee, secure compensatory damages and lost back pay. See the news release for more information.


Cable manufacturer fined nearly $180,000 for exposing workers to electrical, chemical, mechanical, fire and exit hazards

OSHA cited Loos & Co. Inc. for 29 alleged violations of workplace safety standards. The Pomfret cable manufacturer faces a total of $177,000 in proposed fines following safety and health inspections conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office. OSHA inspectors found untrained employees working on live electrical equipment without adequate personal protective equipment and not using hazardous energy control procedures during maintenance of machinery; ungrounded lamps and electrical receptacles; damaged and misused electrical equipment; unguarded moving machine parts; uninspected lifting slings; excessive buildup of combustible dust; spray painting with flammable paint within 20 feet of spark-producing equipment; excessive noise levels and the lack of controls to reduce noise levels; improper dispensing of flammable liquids; inadequate eyewash facilities for employees working with chemicals; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; failure to conduct initial monitoring for hexavalent chromium; and exit routes arranged so employees would have to travel toward high-hazard areas when exiting the plant in an emergency. The company was also cited for one for inadequate machine safeguarding. A similar hazard was cited by OSHA following a 2008 inspection of the plant. See the news release for more information.


OSHA fines firearms manufacturer $170,000 for exposing workers to toxic substances and other hazards

OSHA fined Remington Arms Co. Inc. cited Remington Arms Co. Inc. for 35 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Ilion, N.Y., manufacturing plant. The firearms manufacturer faces a total of $170,000 in proposed penalties for a variety of mechanical, electrical and chemical hazards identified during inspections by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office.

OSHA found violations involving a lack of personal protective equipment and worker exposure to toxic substances lead and cadmium. The inspection also identified numerous electrical hazards and instances of unguarded moving machine parts; improper storage and transfer of flammable liquids; a lack of procedures to lock out machines' power sources to prevent their unintended startup during maintenance; unguarded openings and defective ladders; inadequate fire extinguisher training and availability; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; and several exit deficiencies including a locked exit door, obstructed exit routes, unmarked exits, and non-functioning emergency and exit lighting. See the news release for more information.


Department of Transportation unveils 'OMG' PSA to warn teens about the dangers of distracted driving

The U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled "OMG," a new public service announcement (PSA) to warn teenagers against the dangers of distracted driving. The PSA is available on the newly redesigned Distraction.gov website, along with new materials designed especially for young drivers. The new PSA is designed to reach teenagers using imagery that relates to popular shorthand text messages such as "L8R" for "later" or "LOL" for "laugh out loud." Two versions of the PSA will air. A version geared towards a teenage audience will run exclusively on 6,589 movie screens in 526 cinemas across the country. A more somber version will air on the 12,000 screens that top pumps at high traffic gas stations across the United States. To view the new ads click here.

The human toll is tragic," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels about the consequences of distracted driving. "The Department of Transportation reports that in 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distraction and thousands more were injured. Texting while driving has become such a prominent hazard that 30 states now ban text messaging for all drivers. It is an employer's responsibility and legal obligation to create and maintain a safe and healthful workplace, and that would include having a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against the hazard of texting while driving." In an Oct. 20 blog post, Michaels said, "Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job." For more information, visit OSHA's Distracted Driving Web page.


Michaels issues statement on increase of nonfatal occupational injuries among health care workers

Data released Nov. 9 by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an increase in the injury and illness rates among members of certain health care professions. Data on nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2010 showed a six percent increase from the previous year in the incidence rate for health care support workers-almost 2 1/2 times the rate for all private and public sector workers. The rate among nursing aides, orderlies and attendants rose seven percent. Additionally, the rate of musculoskeletal disorder cases with days away from work for nursing aides, orderlies and attendants increased 10 percent.

"It is unacceptable that the workers who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are sick are the very same workers who face the highest risk of work-related injury and illness," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "The rates of injuries and illnesses among hospital and health care workers underscore OSHA's concern about the safety and health of these workers," he said. In response, OSHA will launch, in the next few months, a National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities. See Michaels' full statement for more information.


Retailers can prevent holiday sales events tragedies through safe crowd management

OSHA even OSHA is again encouraging major retail employers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during Black Friday and other major sales events during the holiday season. In 2008, a worker was trampled to death while a mob of shoppers rushed through the doors of a large store to take advantage of an after-Thanksgiving Day Black Friday sales event. The store was not using the kind of crowd management measures recommended in OSHA's fact sheet, which provides employers with recommended elements for crowd management plans. Plans should include having trained security personnel or police officers on-site, setting up barricades or rope lines for pedestrians and crowd control well in advance of customers arriving at the store, and having security personnel or customer service representatives explain approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public. See the news release for more information.


OSHA's animated educational videos on construction        hazards
This image from one of OSHA's animated educational videos on construction hazards shows a worker using a pneumatically powered saw, rather than one powered by gasoline, to reduce the buildup of carbon monoxide in a confined area.

OSHA educational videos show how to protect workers from construction hazards

OSHA has released 12 educational videos about potential hazards in the construction industry. The educational videos are brief, easy to understand, and geared to the needs of employers and workers. One in every five workers killed on the job nationwide is in construction-totaling nearly 800 construction worker deaths every year. The videos are based on real-life incidents and include detailed depictions of hazards and the safety measures that would have prevented these injuries and fatalities. OSHA's videos cover falls in construction, workers who are struck by vehicles and heavy equipment, sprains and strains, trenching and excavation hazards, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Most of the videos are two-to-four minutes in length, and all but one are animated. Each video is available in English and Spanish for Web viewing. All video scripts will be available online soon. See the news release for more information.



OSHA   Assistant Secretary David Michaels Photo credit: National Safety Council

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels stressed that OSHA's standards are life-savers not job-killers during his keynote address at the National Safety Council's 2011 Congress and Expo in Philadelphia.

Michaels tells National Safety Council: OSHA standards save lives, spur business innovation

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels outlined current and future OSHA goals and activities Nov. 1 as the keynote speaker at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo in Philadelphia. Michaels told the audience that "OSHA standards do not kill jobs, OSHA standards stop jobs from killing workers." In his presentation at the NSC conference, Michaels gave examples of the effectiveness of OSHA standards in reducing workplace fatalities and serious injuries and illnesses. Over its 40-year history, "OSHA has been very successful" and has made "a big difference" in the lives of countless workers, Michaels said.

Michaels also voiced his support for the national Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard that OSHA is preparing to propose. Thirty-four states already require or encourage employers to implement programs similar to those envisioned under the proposal OSHA is developing, he told the conference attendees. He said, "injury and illness prevention programs protect workers and improve the bottom line."


Pet food company fined more than $750,000 for exposing workers to combustible dust and other hazards

OSHA fined All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc. $758,450 and cited the company for 23 safety and health violations at its pet food production and packaging facility in Galva, Ill. OSHA cited All-Feed for willful violations of OSHA's air contaminant, respiratory protection and hearing conservation standards. The company's failure to provide appropriate fire and explosion protection in locations where concentrations of combustible dust existed was cited under OSHA's "general duty" clause, which requires employers to provide workplaces "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to [their] employees."
OSHA issued willful citations after All-Feed required employees to work in areas where they were exposed to total dust in excess of permissible limits, and failed to protect multiple dust collection units from fire and explosion hazards. Other willful citations were issued to the company for failing to administer a continuing and effective hearing conservation program for employees exposed to excessive noise; and allowing the use of liquid propane-powered industrial trucks in atmospheres where combustible dust may be ignited. See the news release for more information.


Food manufacturer fined more than $400,000 for exposing workers to noise and machinery hazards

OSHA fined Bridgford Foods Corp. $422,600 and cited the company for 27 safety and health violations at its food manufacturing facility in Dallas. The violations include failing to establish and maintain a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise hazards beyond the permissible exposure limit, and failing to establish a lockout/tagout program for energy sources to protect workers from machines starting up unexpectedly. OSHA has placed Bridgford in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Initiated in June 2010, the program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. See the news release for more information.


FACOSH recommends safety and health training for federal workers

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently approved recommendations made by the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) that will improve the training of federal government employees responsible for the development and maintenance of effective federal agency worker safety and health programs. The recommendations made to OSHA include identifying necessary training and experience for the advancement of federal safety and health officers, developing consistent safety and health management training requirements across the federal government, and working with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help the GSA identify core skills and appropriate training for personnel responsible for the design, function, operation and maintenance of federal buildings. For more information, visit wwww.regulations.gov and see the documents posted from the June 7, 2011 FACOSH Meeting


OSHA's free On-site Consultation program helps small businesses improve workplace safety and health

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. In FY 2010, responding to requests from small employers looking to create or improve their safety and health management systems, OSHA's On-site Consultation Program conducted over 30,000 visits to small business worksites covering over 1.5 million workers across the nation.

On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management systems.


Wyoming OSHA proposes changes to rules on workplace safety in oil and gas industry

Wyoming OSHA will hold a public hearing Dec. 2 to welcome stakeholders' comments on proposed rule amendments* that would revise the agency's Occupational Health and Safety Rules and Regulations for Oil and Gas Well Drilling standards. Wyoming OSHA is proposing this rulemaking action to improve, streamline and update existing oil and drilling standards after the agency and representatives of the oil and gas industry identified several requirements for better employee protection — including personal protective equipment, improved emergency communications, fall rescue plans and documented training. Coal Bed Methane drilling practices were added, prompted by industry suggestions. Wyoming OSHA believes that improving these standards will help employers to better understand their obligations and promote safety and health for their employees.


Product safety recalls for December 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereldec11.html

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November 2011

Bureau of Labor Statistic releases workplace injury and illness data for 2010

The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Oct. 20 that there were 3.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers in 2010--approximately 200,000 fewer incidents than there were in 2009. The rate of injuries and illnesses also dropped in 2010 from the previous year.

In a statement responding to BLS's findings, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said, "We are encouraged by the reported decline in incidence rates for workplace injuries and illnesses, which is reflective of the joint effort of government, business, unions and other organizations. Nevertheless, 3.1 million injuries and illnesses in the workplace are too high. Serious injuries and illnesses can knock a working family out of the middle class. Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a paycheck."

Decline in private sector workplace injuries and illnesses

Decline in private sector workplace injuries and illnesses
The efforts of OSHA and its partners in state and local governments to ensure the safety and health of America’s workers has played a major role in the more than 50 percent decline in private sector workplace injuries and illnesses from 6.8 million in 1994 to 3.1 million in 2010.

 


OSHA's Workers' Rights

OSHA publishes new and updated materials on worker safety and health

OSHA recently published new and updated educational brochures on a number of topics including workers' rights, employers' rights following an OSHA inspection, as well as how to protect workers from hazards in the construction, general and maritime industries. OSHA's Workers' Rights* booklet describes the rights to which workers are legally entitled under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The booklet, Employer Rights and Responsibilities Following an OSHA Inspection*, reviews what happens after an inspection and is provided to employers during an OSHA inspection. The agency also recently published an updated Construction Industry Digest*, and a new Small Entity Compliance Guide for Respiratory Protection Standard*, Laboratory Safety Guidance*, a series of new QuickCards, and new publications to help protect construction, general industry and shipyard workers. Please call 1-800-321-OSHA or 202-693-1999 to order copies or visit OSHA's Publications page to order them online.

 


Blog: Employers must neither require nor condone workers texting while driving

Distracted Driving OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels sent a clear message in his Oct. 20 blog post that employers must neither require nor condone their workers sending or reading text or e-mail messages while driving. In 2009, distracted drivers contributed to more than 5,400 traffic fatalities, accounting for 16 percent of all traffic deaths that year. OSHA responded last year by partnering with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to launch an initiative to combat this deadly practice.

Michaels reminded employers in his blog post, "Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job. When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, we will investigate and where necessary issue citations and penalties to end this practice."


Chemical exposure related to bathtub refinishing results in 13 worker deaths

Federal OSHA has identified at least 13 worker deaths since 2000 related to bathtub refinishing with stripping agents containing methylene chloride. In the majority of the identified cases, the workers were working alone, in poorly ventilated bathrooms, with inadequate respiratory protection and little or no training on the hazards of the chemicals they were using. Michigan recently investigated one of these cases through its Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) program and issued a hazard alert* to inform employers and workers. The alert highlights the hazards of working with methylene chloride-based stripping agents, safe work practices when using them and alternative paint stripping chemicals and processes.

Methylene chloride is a volatile solvent and cancer-causing chemical that is easily absorbed into the body through the lungs and skin. Short-term exposures to high levels of methylene chloride can cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness and lack of coordination. The liver metabolizes methylene chloride to carbon monoxide, and elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the blood can cause heart attacks, irregular heart rhythms and sudden death. OSHA's methylene chloride standard (29 CFR 1910.1052) requires employers to control occupational exposure to methylene chloride through the use of exposure monitoring, engineering and work practices, respiratory protection and medical surveillance. OSHA is collaborating with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to develop further guidance for employers and workers in the bathtub refinishing industry.

Supermarket chain fined nearly $600,000 after failing to ensure injured worker received proper medical attention

OSHA issued $589,200 in fines to DeMoulas Supermarket Inc., doing business as Market Basket, and cited the company for 30 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its stores in Rindge and Concord, N.H. The Tewksbury, Mass., grocery chain, which has stores in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, was fined chiefly for recurring fall and laceration hazards and also for improperly responding to a worker's serious injury.

The inspection of the Market Basket store began after an employee sustained broken bones and head trauma on April 17 when he fell 11 feet to a concrete floor from an inadequately guarded storage mezzanine. Instead of calling for emergency help, store management lifted the injured worker from the floor, put him in a wheelchair and pushed him to the store's receiving dock to wait for a relative to take him to the hospital. OSHA also found that employees were exposed to falls of over 11 feet while working on top of produce coolers, freezers and storage lofts that lacked adequate guardrails to prevent falls. Employees were also exposed to severe laceration hazards from knives due to the grocery chain's failure to provide hand protection to employees in the produce, deli and bakery departments. See the news release for more information.


OSHA citations and fines upheld against contractor for cave-in hazards

The independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld willful and serious citations and $137,200 in fines issued by OSHA to Sand Cut Properties LLC, a Danbury, Conn., contractor. OSHA cited Sand Cut Properties in November 2008 after inspectors at a Brookfield, Conn., worksite found an employee working in a collapsing 6- to 9-foot-deep excavation that lacked cave-in protection and had piles of excavated materials overhanging its edge as well as water seeping into its bottom. The company contested the willful violations and accompanying fines to the review commission in December 2008. In a Sept. 22 decision, Administrative Law Judge Dennis L. Phillips affirmed the citations and ordered Sand Cut Properties to pay $137,200 in fines. See the news release for more information.


Washington DOSH study shows inspections improve safety and save money

A study of 10 years of Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (WA DOSH) enforcement inspections and safety consultation visits to employers found that those visits were linked to lower workers' compensation claims and lower costs for employers. The study, conducted by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries' Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program, excluded work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) claims for which there were no hazard-specific rules. The study found that:

  • WA DOSH enforcement and consultation activities significantly contributed to reduced worker compensation claims rates and costs in the year following the visit.
  • For the 10-year period studied, worker compensation savings for employers in the study was $3.9 million annually due to WA DOSH enforcement activities.

See the news release for more information.


OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of materials and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for resources including a short video using old and new footage to highlight key moments in the agency's history, an interactive timeline and a commemoration of the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. The page also links to an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels as well as a video of his participation in a panel discussion on the nation's progress in worker safety and health over the past forty years and the challenges that lie ahead.


Product safety recalls for November 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelnov11.html

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October 2011

Michaels testifies before Congress about OSHA's success protecting America's workers and businesses

"The primary purpose of OSHA's enforcement program is deterrence," OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels told congressional leaders at an Oct. 5 House of Representatives subcommittee hearing titled "Workplace Safety: Ensuring a Responsible Regulatory Environment." In his testimony, Michaels told lawmakers that "OSHA's enforcement program specifically targets the most dangerous workplaces and the most recalcitrant employers." Michaels testified about OSHA's common-sense standards and the importance of injury and illness prevention programs. He cited the positive feedback received by the agency from private companies on their use of those programs, and he discussed that OSHA standards have protected workers while industries have continued to flourish. "OSHA doesn't kill jobs," Michaels added. "It stops jobs from killing workers."


Ordering OSHA publications
OSHA publications, including new educational materials on trenching hazards and nail gun safety, may be ordered by any of the following methods.

Online
Visit OSHA's Publications Web page.

Fax
Send your request via fax to 202-693-2498.

Telephone
Call 1-800 321-6742 (OSHA) or 202-693-1999.

Mail
Send your request in writing to:
U.S. Department of Labor
OSHA Publications Office
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Room N3101
Washington, D.C. 20210


New small businesses document explains OSHA's respiratory protection standard

OSHA's revised Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respiratory Protection Standard* is intended to help small businesses protect workers from respiratory hazards. The updated guide, directed at businesses with fewer than 250 workers, explains how to comply with OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard. It provides instruction on how to select and fit test appropriate respirators to protect workers in many different industries. It includes new illustrations to help employers and workers identify different respirators, and describes how and where they should be used. The revised guide also explains how Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) and Maximum Use Concentrations (MUCs), detailed in OSHA's revised standard, can help workers and employers assess the level of protection necessary in a given workplace. To order the respiratory standard compliance guide, please call 1-800-321-OSHA or 202-693-1999.

OSHA's Respiratory Protection Web page includes hazard alerts and training materials. In addition, OSHA provides assistance to small businesses through the free On-site Consultation Service. Employers with fewer than 250 workers can call 1-800-321-OSHA to request this service, free of charge, to help identify and correct hazards, as well as improve comprehensive safety and health programs. Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations.

 


New eTool provides information on the safe use of hanging scaffolding in shipyard employment

A newly added section to OSHA's Shipyard Employment eTool provides information on marine hanging staging (MHS). This refers to the use of suspended scaffolding systems hung from overhead anchorages on ships, which are especially useful when workers are performing abrasive blasting and painting work in or on a vessel or vessel section. This new component of the OSHA maritime eTool supplements the already existing scaffolds section by providing information on the design, inspection, assembly, use, and dismantling of marine hanging staging in a manner that is safe for workers. The MHS eTool has been reviewed by subject matter experts in private industry, as well as members of OSHA's Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health , to assist in developing a beneficial training tool for workers and employers alike. The MHS eTool replaces a 2005 educational document entitled Safe Work Practices for Marine Hanging Staging.


Material handling company achieves safety excellence with help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program

The Horsley Company of Salt Lake City, Utah, had injury and illness rates below the national average for its industry, but the material handling company wanted to do even better. Horsley learned that OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Horsley contacted the On-site Consultation Program and arranged for its consultants to conduct an initial site visit. During the visit, OSHA Consultation identified several potential hazards. As a result of the site visit, hazards were immediately corrected and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) was assigned whenever the hazard called for it. Since the OSHA Consultation site visit and follow-up discussions, Horsley has continued to effectively implement processes and procedures that promote workplace safety. In the fall of 2009, OSHA formally recognized the company for having an exemplary safety and health management system by accepting Horsley into the agency's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). See the online success story for more information.


OSHA updates hazard alert on formaldehyde dangers to hair salon owners and workers

OSHA issued a revised hazard alert to hair salon owners and workers about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with certain hair smoothing and straightening products. Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose; cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs; and is a cancer hazard. The revised alert was prompted by the results of agency investigations, a warning letter issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and incorrect information recently sent to salons by a company that manufactures hair products. The revised hazard alert notifies salons that if they use products that contain or release formaldehyde (like timonacic acid), they must follow the requirements in OSHA's formaldehyde standard. The alert also includes a list of other names for formaldehyde (e.g. methylene glycol, formalin, and methanal) and details about required information to be listed on product labels and material safety data sheets of products that contain or could release formaldehyde.

During recent investigations, OSHA's air tests showed that workers were exposed to formaldehyde above OSHA's limits in salons using Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution and Brasil Cacau Cadiveu, resulting in citations for multiple violations. The FDA issued a warning letter Aug. 22 to the importer and distributer of Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution stating that the product is adulterated and misbranded. Although the solution contains methylene glycol, which can release formaldehyde during the normal conditions of use, the product is labeled "formaldehyde free" or "no formaldehyde" and does not list formaldehyde on the material safety data sheet. Following an Aug. 24 letter sent by Brazilian Blowout to salon owners claiming that all OSHA air tests on its product yielded results below OSHA's standard for exposure, the agency sent a letter* Sept. 22 to the company refuting that assertion. See the news release for more information.


OSHA's new trenching poster warns that "an unprotected trench is an early grave." OSHA's new trenching poster warns that "an unprotected trench is an early grave."

Preventing worker deaths from trench collapses is goal of new OSHA publications

OSHA has three new guidance products to educate employers and workers about the hazards in trenching operations. Unprotected trenches are among the deadliest hazards in the construction industry and the loss of life is devastating: since 2003, more than 200 workers have died in trench cave-ins, and hundreds more have been seriously injured. The new products include a fact sheet*, QuickCard* and a poster* that warns, "An Unprotected Trench is an Early Grave." The three documents may be ordered in English- and Spanish-language versions from the Publications page of OSHA's Web site. See the news release for more information.


Asbestos contractor sentenced to six years in prison for violating Clean Air Act and lying to OSHA

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Sept. 22 that asbestos contractor Keith Gordon-Smith, owner of Gordon-Smith Contracting, convicted of multiple counts of violating the Clean Air Act and lying to OSHA inspectors, was sentenced to 72 months in prison and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution. DOJ stated that the defendant caused employees of Gordon-Smith Contracting Inc. to improperly remove asbestos during the partial demolition of a building on the site of the former Genesee Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.

"The Court's sentence properly punishes Gordon-Smith and his company for the egregious crimes that placed workers and their families at risk and for his complete disregard of the environmental laws that protect human health and the environment," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.
Among other things, Gordon-Smith ordered workers to tear out copper pipes and scrap metal from a six-story building that contained over 70,000 square feet of asbestos. When the workers--who were not provided with any masks or protective clothing--removed the pipes, ceiling tiles and scrap metal, they were repeatedly exposed to asbestos which they told jurors was falling on them "like snow." Workers testified that Gordon-Smith repeatedly told them that the material was not asbestos. Following worker complaints, OSHA sent an inspector to the Genesee Hospital to ensure that the workers were protected. On three separate occasions, Gordon-Smith falsely denied that any pre-abatement disturbance of asbestos took place. He falsely stated that tiles and scrap metal were torn out by other, unknown parties, when in fact he had himself ordered his workers to do so. See the news release* for more information.


Safety video contest opens to Oregon students

High school students across Oregon are invited to enter the 2012 "Save a Friend. Work Safe." video contest. The top three entries will take home cash prizes ranging from $300 to $500 and students will earn a matching amount for their school. Oregon OSHA and The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]) are among the organizations sponsoring the contest. The contest is designed to increase awareness about safety on the job for young people. Students must create a 45-second public service announcement with the overall theme of "Save a Friend. Work Safe." The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1, 2012. See the news release* for more information.


Fiberglass company achieves safety excellence with help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program

Tecton Products LLC designs and manufactures custom fiberglass products at a Fargo, N.D., facility that operates 24 hours-per-day, seven days-per-week. Tecton requested a visit from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program to find out about potential hazards at its facility and improve its occupational safety and health management system. Implementing recommendations made by OSHA's consultant, Tecton became the first company in North Dakota to earn OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) designation for its exemplary safety and health management systems. Continuing its efforts to achieve safety and health excellence, Tecton applied and was accepted to OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which recognize employers and workers who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national averages in their industry. Tecton's Director of Engineering, Tom Gohdes, said, "Safety is a part of our culture. It comes from attitude and actions. Our associates begin safety training on their first day. The process never stops." See the online success story for more information.


OSHA convenes roundtable of Alliance partners in the construction industry

During a Sept. 20 meeting with the Alliance Program Construction Roundtable, OSHA provided participants with updates on the agency's activities and priorities related to the construction industry. Roundtable members heard presentations on OSHA's new compliance assistance materials and efforts to reach workers with limited English proficiency, and were asked for their feedback on OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) presented information on its recent Prevention Through Design Conference. The roundtable was created to discuss and share information on workplace safety and health, as well as develop and share construction-related compliance assistance tools and other resources for workers and employers.


OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of materials and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for resources including a short video using old and new footage to highlight key moments in the agency's history, an interactive timeline and a commemoration of the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. The page also links to an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels as well as a video of his participation in a panel discussion on the nation's progress in worker safety and health over the past forty years and the challenges that lie ahead.


Product safety recalls for October 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereloct11.html

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September 2011

Michaels advocates including worker protections in discussions on environmental sustainability

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels participated by video feed in a July 25 conference on "Ensuring and Strengthening Public Health Linkages in a Sustainable World," advocating that planners include worker safety and health in efforts to sustain the earth's resources. Michaels addressed a group of about 40 public health professionals attending a Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine in Woods Hole, Mass., hosted by the Institute of Medicine. Michaels described how workers are exposed to hazards in jobs that provide earth-friendly, sustainable products and services, such as manufacturing, installing and repairing wind turbines; working in recycling plants; and constructing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified green buildings. He also noted how hospitals and other health care facilities have adopted sustainability measures that provide safer and healthier conditions for their workers, including using safer cleaning chemicals, installing better ventilation and designing or remodeling facilities with materials that reduce slips and falls.


Warning card on suffocation hazards in grain storage bins now available from OSHA

OSHA has produced a grain handling hazard card* warning of the danger of being buried and suffocated when entering grain storage bins. The laminated wallet-sized card lists the OSHA-required precautions that must be taken whenever workers enter a grain storage bin. These include turning off and locking out augers and any other powered equipment in the bin, entering from a level at or above stored grain using a body harness with an anchored lifeline or boatswain chair, and testing the bin's air to ensure there is enough oxygen and no hazardous gas. The card may be ordered online.


Bakery cited for exposing workers to safety and health hazards twice in four months is fined nearly $200,000

OSHA cited Lone Star Bakery Inc. in China Grove, Texas, for the second time in four months for exposing workers to safety and health hazards, including failing to ensure that employees participate in a process safety management program, ensure piping and instrumentation diagrams are current and accurate, and use recognized and generally accepted engineering practices to protect tanks containing anhydrous ammonia. For the latest violations, the company faces 18 serious and three repeat violations and a fine of $199,600. See the news release for more information.


Company fined nearly $160,000 after worker is struck and killed by flying piece of machinery

OSHA cited Advantage Powder Coating in Defiance, Ohio, for 15 safety violations and fined the company $159,600 after a pedestal grinder operator was killed when the abrasive wheel on the grinder exploded and struck the operator on the head. Two willful violations were cited for a lack of properly adjusted safety guards and work rests on pedestal grinders. OSHA placed Advantage Powder Coating in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Advantage Powder Coating was placed in the program for receiving two willful violations covered under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations. See the news release for more information.


Lumber mill fined more than $150,000 after worker is killed by mechanical saw

OSHA fined B&B Lumber Co. Inc. $152,100 and cited it for 35 alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards following the Feb. 7 death of a worker at the company's Jamesville, N.Y., sawmill. The worker, who was changing the blades on an edging saw, was killed when another employee inadvertently started the saw. OSHA's inspection found that the saw's power source had not been locked out, as required by OSHA's hazardous energy control, or "lockout/tagout," standard. That standard mandates that machines be shut down and their power sources locked out before employees perform maintenance. OSHA's inspection also identified several other hazardous conditions at the mill that exposed employees to the hazards of falls, electrocution, lacerations, amputation, being caught in moving machine parts and being unable to exit the workplace swiftly in the event of an emergency. See the news release for more information.


Award-winning photojournalist encourages people to enter OSHA photo contest before Aug. 12 deadline

Earl Dotter, an award-winning occupational photojournalist who has documented a wide range of workplace safety and health issues during his forty-year career, encouraged people to enter OSHA's photo contest in a post on the DOL blog site. Dotter, who is serving as a judge in the Picture It! Safe Workplaces for Everyone contest, said "I believe that a photograph is a valuable way to tell OSHA's story and thereby inspire others to action." The contest celebrating OSHA's 40th anniversary challenges anyone with a passion for photography to capture an image of workplace safety and health and share it with OSHA. See the contest Web site to enter before the Aug. 12 deadline. Sample entries can be viewed at Flickr.com.


Green Jobs: OSHA Harwood grantee offers free spray foam industry safety training

The Sustainable Workplace Alliance is conducting free training classes, developed with funding from an OSHA Susan Harwood Targeted Topic Training Grant, about hazards involved in working with Spray Polyurethane Foam. This weather insulating and sealing agent contains isocyanates, potential human carcinogens that can cause work-related asthma. The three half-day training classes will provide in-depth information about the hazards involved in the use of Spray Polyurethane Foam and how to protect the health and safety of employees working with it. Each attendee will receive four PowerPoint presentations on CD, handouts and other valuable training-related tools--all available in English and Spanish. Classes will take place Aug. 15 in San Diego, Aug. 19 in Phoenix, and Aug. 23 in Denver. For more information or to register, visit the Sustainable Workplace Alliance Web site.


OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of materials and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for resources including a short video using old and new footage to highlight key moments in the agency's history, an interactive timeline and a commemoration of the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. The page also links to an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels as well as a video of his participation in a panel discussion on the nation's progress in worker safety and health over the past forty years and the challenges that lie ahead.

Product safety recalls for September 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelsep11.html

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August 2011


Michaels advocates including worker protections in discussions on environmental sustainability

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels participated by video feed in a July 25 conference on "Ensuring and Strengthening Public Health Linkages in a Sustainable World," advocating that planners include worker safety and health in efforts to sustain the earth's resources. Michaels addressed a group of about 40 public health professionals attending a Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine in Woods Hole, Mass., hosted by the Institute of Medicine. Michaels described how workers are exposed to hazards in jobs that provide earth-friendly, sustainable products and services, such as manufacturing, installing and repairing wind turbines; working in recycling plants; and constructing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified green buildings. He also noted how hospitals and other health care facilities have adopted sustainability measures that provide safer and healthier conditions for their workers, including using safer cleaning chemicals, installing better ventilation and designing or remodeling facilities with materials that reduce slips and falls.


 Warning card on suffocation hazards in grain storage bins now available from OSHA

OSHA has produced a grain handling hazard card* warning of the danger of being buried and suffocated when entering grain storage bins. The laminated wallet-sized card lists the OSHA-required precautions that must be taken whenever workers enter a grain storage bin. These include turning off and locking out augers and any other powered equipment in the bin, entering from a level at or above stored grain using a body harness with an anchored lifeline or boatswain chair, and testing the bin's air to ensure there is enough oxygen and no hazardous gas. The card may be ordered online.


Bakery cited for exposing workers to safety and health hazards twice in four months is fined nearly $200,000

OSHA cited Lone Star Bakery Inc. in China Grove, Texas, for the second time in four months for exposing workers to safety and health hazards, including failing to ensure that employees participate in a process safety management program, ensure piping and instrumentation diagrams are current and accurate, and use recognized and generally accepted engineering practices to protect tanks containing anhydrous ammonia. For the latest violations, the company faces 18 serious and three repeat violations and a fine of $199,600. See the news release for more information.


Company fined nearly $160,000 after worker is struck and killed by flying piece of machinery

OSHA cited Advantage Powder Coating in Defiance, Ohio, for 15 safety violations and fined the company $159,600 after a pedestal grinder operator was killed when the abrasive wheel on the grinder exploded and struck the operator on the head. Two willful violations were cited for a lack of properly adjusted safety guards and work rests on pedestal grinders. OSHA placed Advantage Powder Coating in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Advantage Powder Coating was placed in the program for receiving two willful violations covered under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations. See the news release for more information.


Lumber mill fined more than $150,000 after worker is killed by mechanical saw

OSHA fined B&B Lumber Co. Inc. $152,100 and cited it for 35 alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards following the Feb. 7 death of a worker at the company's Jamesville, N.Y., sawmill. The worker, who was changing the blades on an edging saw, was killed when another employee inadvertently started the saw. OSHA's inspection found that the saw's power source had not been locked out, as required by OSHA's hazardous energy control, or "lockout/tagout," standard. That standard mandates that machines be shut down and their power sources locked out before employees perform maintenance. OSHA's inspection also identified several other hazardous conditions at the mill that exposed employees to the hazards of falls, electrocution, lacerations, amputation, being caught in moving machine parts and being unable to exit the workplace swiftly in the event of an emergency. See the news release for more information.


Award-winning photojournalist encourages people to enter OSHA photo contest before Aug. 12 deadline

Earl Dotter, an award-winning occupational photojournalist who has documented a wide range of workplace safety and health issues during his forty-year career, encouraged people to enter OSHA's photo contest in a post on the DOL blog site. Dotter, who is serving as a judge in the Picture It! Safe Workplaces for Everyone contest, said "I believe that a photograph is a valuable way to tell OSHA's story and thereby inspire others to action." The contest celebrating OSHA's 40th anniversary challenges anyone with a passion for photography to capture an image of workplace safety and health and share it with OSHA. See the contest Web site to enter before the Aug. 12 deadline. Sample entries can be viewed at Flickr.com


Green Jobs: OSHA Harwood grantee offers free spray foam industry safety training

The Sustainable Workplace Alliance is conducting free training classes, developed with funding from an OSHA Susan Harwood Targeted Topic Training Grant, about hazards involved in working with Spray Polyurethane Foam. This weather insulating and sealing agent contains isocyanates, potential human carcinogens that can cause work-related asthma. The three half-day training classes will provide in-depth information about the hazards involved in the use of Spray Polyurethane Foam and how to protect the health and safety of employees working with it. Each attendee will receive four PowerPoint presentations on CD, handouts and other valuable training-related tools--all available in English and Spanish. Classes will take place Aug. 15 in San Diego, Aug. 19 in Phoenix, and Aug. 23 in Denver. For more information or to register, visit the Sustainable Workplace Alliance Web site.


OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of materials and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for resources including a short video using old and new footage to highlight key moments in the agency's history, an interactive timeline and a commemoration of the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. The page also links to an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels as well as a video of his participation in a panel discussion on the nation's progress in worker safety and health over the past forty years and the challenges that lie ahead.

Product safety recalls for August 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljul11.html

 

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July 2011

Wyoming OSHA and state oil and gas industry form alliance to protect worker safety

The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wyoming Oil & Gas Industry Safety Alliance (WOGISA) signed an alliance* June 15 to increase safety in the oil and gas industry. WOGISA comprises oil and gas employers throughout the state, including producers, drillers, service companies, support activities and others. The three major goals of the Wyoming OSHA/WOGISA alliance are to:

  • Develop training and education programs regarding specific hazard recognition and prevention associated within the Wyoming oil and gas energy industry.
  • Create a forum for employers and employees to work together to resolve workplace safety and health issues.
  • Deliver, arrange for, or assist in the delivery of the OSHA 10-Hour Construction and OSHA 10-Hour General Industry courses, and other applicable training.

In addition to education efforts, the alliance will facilitate better communication between Wyoming OSHA and industry safety and health professionals. See the news release for more information.


NOAA extreme heat weather alerts contain worker safety information

Solis and Michaels hold news conference with meteorologists to discuss need for nationwide awareness

OSHA is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on weather service alerts to incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the United States. NOAA is also including important worker safety information on its Heat Watch Web page. Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience heat illness, which often manifests as heat exhaustion. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which killed more than 30 workers last year.
To bring greater awareness to this issue, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels participated in a June 21 conference call with meteorologists and other television and radio reporters who cover the weather to discuss how to alert outdoor workers and their employers about the dangers of extreme heat. Solis and Michaels informed the meteorologists and reporters about OSHA's National Heat Illness Campaign (see below), offered recommendations for protection and encouraged news coverage to help spread to viewers and listeners everywhere the simple message: water, rest, shade.


OSHA requests comments on proposed updates to occupational injury and illness recording and reporting requirements

OSHA is requesting public comments on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announced in the June 22 Federal Register that updates two aspects of the agency's recordkeeping and reporting requirements for work-related injuries and illnesses. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 20, 2011. See the Federal Register notice for details on how to submit comments.

Under the proposal, employers would be required to report to OSHA any work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and work-related amputations within 24 hours. Under the current regulation, employers are required to report any work-related fatality and only work-related in-patient hospitalizations of three or more workers and are not required to report amputations.
OSHA is also proposing to update Appendix A of the recordkeeping rule (Part 1904 Subpart B) that lists industries partially exempt from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs because of their relatively low injury and illness rates. The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system used in the current list of industries would be replaced by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) used by most federal agencies. See the news release and Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.


Solis and ambassadors of Guatemala and Nicaragua sign declarations protecting migrant workers' rights

Joined by Guatemalan Ambassador Francisco Villagrán De Léon and Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell, Secretary Solis signed declarations at a June 16 ceremony that will better protect the rights of Guatemalans and Nicaraguans working in the United States. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and Nancy J. Leppink, acting administrator of DOL's Wage and Hour Division, also signed agreements to implement the declarations. "Individuals from Guatemala and Nicaragua make important contributions to the U.S. economy, and their workplace rights should be protected," Solis said. "I am pleased that the U.S., Guatemalan and Nicaraguan governments are working together to help make that happen."

OSHA will continue efforts to improve workplace safety and health conditions while simultaneously providing outreach and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers. Additionally, through OSHA and the Wage and Hour Division, DOL will be better able to identify problems experienced by migrant workers and to target labor law enforcement efforts. For more information, see the news release, available in English or Spanish.


OSHA resources can help employers prevent fireworks-related injuries during July 4th celebrations

As July 4th approaches, OSHA is reminding employers of the workplace hazards associated with fireworks manufacturing, storage, transportation, display and retail sales. Resources addressing common hazards and controls for both the retail sales and display of fireworks are available on the OSHA Assistance for the Pyrotechnics Industry Web page. Pyrotechnics include many devices to launch, detonate, or initiate an explosive material. OSHA's Pyrotechnics Industry page includes links to lists--available as posters and pocket-sized cards--of top 10 precautions employers should take in fireworks sales and display to help keep their workers safe on the job and prevent workplace injuries and fatalities. The site also includes OSHA Safety Guidelines for Display Fireworks Sites*, to advise display fireworks operators and other affected employers of procedures to help ensure that display fireworks are used safely.


OSHA and FDA launch joint effort to improve communication and cooperation

OSHA signed a memorandum of understanding June 16 with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizing the importance of close cooperation and collaboration between the FDA and OSHA--two enforcement agencies responsible for preventing injuries and illnesses. To better protect both workers and consumers, the two agencies have agreed to share relevant information obtained during inspections of facilities where food is produced, processed or held.

Both agencies developed and implemented formal communications procedures and processes, including staff training. The training covered each agency's mission and responsibilities, what each agency regulates and how to identify the types of situations each agency would like employees to watch for and report. "The intent of the training program was to share information that may assist each agency. This is not an attempt to make OSHA inspectors become FDA Investigators or vice- versa. This training is intended to raise everyone's awareness level so that information can be shared," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "Our combined efforts to share information on possible violations of OSHA and FDA standards will help minimize the potential for injuries, illnesses and deaths."


New report on carcinogens may affect employer Hazard Communication Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the National Toxicology Program's (NTP) 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC), one of the two cancer lists referenced in OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). As a result, employers that manufacture, distribute, or use any of the eight chemicals with new or updated listings in the 12th RoC need to determine if the changes have any impact on their existing hazard communications programs. The 12th RoC added two substances--formaldehyde and aristolochic acids--to its list of known human carcinogens, and six substances--captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, riddelliine (a botanical, not be confused with the drug Ritalin) and styrene--to its list of chemicals and biological agents that are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens. For chemicals like styrene and formaldehyde, which are already listed as carcinogens by the NTP or other organizations, the impact of the listings in the 12th RoC is likely to be minimal because many of the HCS requirements have already been triggered by the previous listings.

Chemicals listed in the RoC are considered carcinogens under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard. Therefore, manufacturers and importers of a chemical or a product containing a chemical listed in the RoC must list the chemical on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) if it is present at a concentration of 0.1% or greater when the product has not been tested as a whole, and they must include warning information about cancer in the MSDS. Chemicals listed on the RoC that are present at less than 0.1% must also be listed if they could be released from the product in concentrations that could present a health risk to workers. The MSDS must also indicate that the NTP lists the chemical as a carcinogen.

Employers that use chemicals with new or updated cancer listings in the RoC or products that contain these chemicals should review incoming MSDSs for new information and must train workers about any new chemical or product hazards. Employers must also look at how the chemical or product is used in their workplaces and make sure that the precautions and protective equipment they require are sufficient to protect workers from anticipated exposures. See the news release for more information about the 12th Report on Carcinogens and OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Page on Carcinogens to learn more about employer responsibilities to protect workers from exposure to these hazardous substances.


OSHA sues real estate management company to protect whistleblower

OSHA is suing CMM Realty Inc. in Columbia, S.C., for allegedly firing an employee who reported workplace and environmental concerns regarding asbestos at one of the company's worksites. In November 2010, OSHA enforced the whistleblower provisions of the Clean Air Act by ordering the company to reinstate the individual and pay him $56,222 in compensatory damages and back wages. OSHA is now suing the company in federal court for violating Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which forbids companies from discriminating against employees who file a complaint. See the news release for more information.

Under the various whistleblower provisions enacted by Congress, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to an employer or to the government. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, as well as 20 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws; trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, workplace safety and health regulations; and consumer product safety laws. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.


OSHA issues new directive on Corporate-Wide Settlement Agreements

OSHA issued a new compliance directive June 22 that updates the agency's directive for administering Corporate-Wide Settlement Agreements (CSAs) with employers. The new guidelines are part of the agency's emphasis on using corporate-wide or enterprise-wide settlement agreements as part of its strategy for leveraging limited resources to accomplish the broadest possible compliance.

"OSHA has made limited use of CSAs in recent years," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "However, we believe that the revised directive will be an effective tool to secure worker safety and health protections. Through an employer's formal agreement to abate serious hazards at multiple facilities, CSAs are an improvement over traditional enforcement measures that could take much longer."

The new directive emphasizes CSAs as a strategy for leveraging the agency's resources to accomplish the greater compliance. OSHA has used CSAs as a compliance tool to more effectively address specific topics for employers who have a significant pattern of non-compliance with the OSH Act across multiple site locations including cases that fall under the increased scrutiny of the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Agreements are now required to include a termination date or sunset clause with a maximum of two years from the settlement date. OSHA posts Corporate-wide Settlement Agreements on its Web site.


New Local Emphasis Programs in four states target injuries and deaths related to powered industrial trucks

OSHA recently initiated Local Emphasis Programs (LEPs) in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi focused on reducing fatalities and serious injuries related to powered industrial trucks. Inspections conducted under these LEPs will primarily focus on operator training, maintenance and repair, and the pathways the trucks travel to ensure clear visibility and determine any possible struck-by hazards. The LEPs began May 29 and will continue until Sept. 30, 2012, unless extended.

LEPs are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the Regional Office or Area Office levels. These programs are intended to address hazards or industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the Office's jurisdiction.


DOL to hold Asian American/Pacific Islander summit in New York on July 9

OSHA and DOL's Wage and Hour Division will host the New York Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Worker Protection Summit July 9 at Flushing Town Hall in Flushing, N.Y. The summit is co-sponsored by community service and advocacy organizations, membership-based organizations and labor unions representing AAPI workers. This is a unique opportunity to build bridges between government agencies and workers in the community, and to discuss workplace safety and health issues, workplace wage and hour issues, worker rights and how to voice concerns when those rights are violated. Simultaneous translation will be provided in Chinese and Korean to facilitate communication. See the event flyer* for more information.


Committee will meet July 19 to advise OSHA on protecting the safety and health of shipyard workers

OSHA will hold a meeting July 19-20 of the Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar. Work groups will meet July 19 and the full committee will meet July 20. The MACOSH agenda will include discussions on single and multi-piece rim wheels; working safely around radiation; person in water (man overboard); fire watch responsibilities; ventilation safety; selection of welding shade; safe entry and work in vessels' sewage tanks; best practices in eye injury reduction; electrical safety; and injury and illness prevention programs. MACOSH meetings are open to the public. Individuals have until July 10 to submit comments and requests to speak by mail, fax or online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. See the Federal Register notice for details.


Michaels discusses worker safety and health at national conference of safety engineers

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels joined Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, for a panel discussion on key issues and concerns of safety professionals at the American Society of Safety Engineers' Professional Development Conference June 13 in Chicago. Michaels spoke about the importance of Injury and Illness Prevention Programs in finding and addressing hazards before they cause harm to workers.. He also congratulated the ASSE on its 100th anniversary. "We know how hard you work every day and night doing everything you possibly can to protect your co-workers. We sincerely thank you. You are the silent heroes of the workplace."


Excavation company fined more than $150,000 after one worker is killed and another injured in trench cave-in

OSHA fined Bontrager Excavating LTD in Uniontown, Ohio, $157,710 and cited the company for two alleged willful, two serious and one repeat safety violation for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. An inspection was initiated after one worker was killed and another injured in a trench collapse.

OSHA inspectors found that Bontrager showed plain indifference to worker safety and disregard for the law's requirements by willfully exposing its employees to trenching and excavation hazards in trenches that were not adequately protected to prevent cave-ins. During the installation of sewer lines in a residential neighborhood, a trench wall collapse resulted in the death of a foreman and injury to another worker. OSHA issued Bontrager a repeat violation for failing to provide a safe means of exit to employees working inside a trench. The company was cited for the same violation in 2007. In addition, inspectors found that the company had exposed workers to the risk of death or serious physical harm by failing to safely determine the location of underground utilities and to ensure a trench shield system was no more than 2 feet off the bottom of a trench floor.

OSHA has placed Bontrager Excavating in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. See the news release for more information.


Employer gets help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program: injuries and illnesses prevented

With an injury and illness rate more than three times the national average for companies in its industry, the management of ALMACO, a family-run manufacturer of agricultural research equipment located in Nevada, Iowa, realized that something had to be done. The company contacted OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program, which inspects small business workplaces at the request of employers to help them identify and correct potential safety and health hazards.

By correcting serious hazards identified by OSHA consultants and by developing and implementing a safety management program, ALMACO was able to significantly improve protection for its employees and enhance the company's safety culture. ALMACO started with correcting fall hazards, unprotected machinery and electrical hazards. ALMACO also made design modifications to their products to allow for safer assembly and reduced the amount of grinding they do by hand by purchasing automated equipment. In addition, ALMACO addressed ergonomic issues and reduced sprains and strains by purchasing lifting equipment and improved safety and housekeeping. As a result of these and other workplace safety and health improvements, ALMACO lowered its injury and illness rate to less than half the national industry average and was approved by OSHA for participation in the On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), which recognizes employers who operate exemplary safety and health management systems.

"It's not about dollars and cents; it's about people's lives," said Christian Clem, President of Operations at ALMACO. "It's about showing up for work in the morning and going home at the end of the day in the exact same status, and that's not just lip service for us--we take it to heart, and we're really serious about it." See the online success story for more information.


New publication explains OSHA-At-A Glance

A new publication, OSHA-At-A-Glance*, provides a brief and clear overview of OSHA's role in protecting the safety and health of workers. The document includes information on employer responsibilities and worker rights, as well as OSHA standards, inspections, help for employers (such as free On-site Consultations, compliance assistance and cooperative programs) and training courses. OSHA-At-A-Glance also explains who OSHA covers and how to contact the agency.


Water, rest and shade: Protecting workers from heat-related illness

OSHA initiated its national Heat Illness Campaign to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat. OSHA is leveraging relationships with other state and local partners, employers, trade organizations, unions, community groups, educational institutions and healthcare professionals, to disseminate training materials across the country. Online resources include educational materials a curriculum for print ads in color and black & white, all available in English and Spanish. Multiple copies of heat campaign publications can be ordered from OSHA's Web site.

Product safety recalls for July 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljul11.html

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June 2011

Lumber company fined nearly $2 million for egregious safety violations including exposing workers to amputation and fall hazards

OSHA fined Phenix Lumber Co. and its principal, John M. Dudley, for egregious and other safety violations at the company's Phenix City, Ala., facility, including exposing employees to amputation and fall hazards. Prior to these citations, Phenix Lumber was cited 77 times by OSHA for serious safety and health violations since 2007.

"Phenix Lumber continues to put workers at risk by choosing not to implement safety measures that would prevent serious injuries to their employees," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

OSHA began an inspection Dec. 15, 2010, in response to a complaint that employees working in the planer mill were exposed to amputation hazards while maintaining, cleaning and clearing jams on pieces of machinery that did not have their energy sources locked out to prevent their unexpected start up. Two months later, OSHA received a second complaint that an employee had suffered a partial finger amputation while clearing a piece of machinery that had not been locked out. At the opening of an inspection following the second complaint, the compliance officer learned of another employee who had just suffered a severe hand injury while working on unguarded machinery. Phenix Lumber had been cited numerous times during the past four years for allowing employees to work on unguarded machinery while it was operating.

OSHA issued Phenix Lumber citations for willful violations that included failing to properly shut down and lock out machinery before employees were required to perform tasks such as clearing jams and cleaning. These failures exposed employees to amputation hazards, as well as to the possibility of being caught between or struck by pieces of the machinery and falling lumber. The employer also failed to train employees who performed this work on the hazards and how to shut down and lock out the machinery so that they could perform their tasks safely. In addition, OSHA found that the employer willfully exposed a worker to fall hazards while working from the top of a machine, failed to issue locks to employees as required by the lockout standard, and failed to follow established lockout/tagout procedures.

OSHA is proposing that the company be included in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which is intended to focus on employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. See the news release for more information.


Roofing contractor fined nearly $250,000 for egregious fall hazards

OSHA fined roofing contractor Lessard Brothers Construction Inc. $243,360 for egregious willful, serious and repeat violations following OSHA's inspection of a Lewiston, Maine, worksite. OSHA previously cited Lessard Brothers, and its predecessor Lessard Roofing & Siding Inc., 10 times for fall protection violations at Maine worksites.

Lessard employees were exposed to potentially life-threatening falls of 23 feet while working without fall protection on a steep-pitched roof. Due to the company's knowledge of the hazard, along with its extensive history of OSHA violations, inspectors issued Lessard four egregious willful citations for the lack of fall protection. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. In addition to the egregious willful citations, OSHA issued Lessard two serious citations for an electrical hazard and for failing to train workers on electrical hazards and fall protection. The company was also issued one repeat citation for lack of hard hat protection. This significant enforcement action qualifies Lessard Brothers Construction Inc. for OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. See the news release for more information.


Feed company fined more than $100,000 for exposing workers to suffocation, combustible dust and other hazards

OSHA fined Lakeland Feed and Supply $122,500 and issued the company 30 citations for exposing workers to hazards including suffocation in grain bins at its Hamilton, Mont., facility. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's Regional Emphasis Program that targets grain handling establishments in the state.

Serious violations included employees walking on grain in the bins; not locking out augers when employees enter the bins; platforms missing guarding; the lack of an emergency evacuation plan and no fire alarm system; high levels of potentially explosive dust; exposed live electrical lines; and improper electrical wiring for high dust areas.

Since 2009, OSHA has issued fines exceeding $100,000 per employer to grain operators across the country following preventable fatalities and injuries. In addition to enforcement actions, OSHA sent a notification letter in August 2010 and another in February 2011 to a total of more than 13,000 grain elevator operators warning them of proper safety precautions. See the news release for more information.


Company fined more than $1.2 million for exposing workers to asbestos hazards without protection

OSHA issued AMD Industries Inc. 27 health citations* and fined the company $1,247,400 after five unprotected and untrained workers allegedly were required to conduct asbestos removal, exposing them to this cancer-causing material. OSHA began its inspection of the company's Cicero, Ill., facility in response to a referral from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. OSHA investigators found that AMD Industries had commissioned a safety audit of its Cicero facility in 2002, which uncovered the presence of asbestos-containing materials on boilers, heating units and connected piping. In November 2010, the company began an asbestos removal project using in-house unprotected and untrained workers. Workers allegedly were exposed to materials containing 20-50 percent asbestos.

"Asbestos exposure can be deadly," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "AMD Industries knew it was assigning workers to asbestos removal work and failed to take the most basic safety precautions. This employer did not provide protective respirators or even warn the workers of the risk to their health from removing the material." See the news release for more information.


OSHA conducts national survey of employers to help guide future rules, compliance and outreach

OSHA announced May 23 the launch of a survey of private sector employers that will serve as a tool toward better designing future rules, compliance assistance and outreach efforts. As many as 19,000 employers nationwide will receive the Baseline Survey of Safety and Health Practices, which asks questions about workplace safety and health management practices.

The survey will be sent to private sector employers of all sizes and across all industries under OSHA's jurisdiction. Questions include whether respondents already have a safety management system, whether they perform annual inspections, who manages safety at their establishments and what kinds of hazards they encounter at their facilities. Participation in the survey is voluntary. OSHA expects the data collection phase to be completed by August. See the news release for more information.


DOL blog focuses on preventing injuries and illnesses among young workers

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels addressed America's young workers in a May 17 post on the Department of Labor blog site explaining their importance to our country's economy and OSHA's role in protecting them from workplace hazards. He said OSHA is reaching out to young workers because they are often more at risk of suffering an injury or an illness on the job than other workers due to their inexperience operating equipment, eagerness to please employers, or reluctance to speak up about dangerous work conditions. OSHA's Young Workers Web page provides information about workers' rights, work hour restrictions and prohibited jobs, as well as hazards related to common summer jobs such as landscaping, lifeguarding, and working in restaurants, parks and camps, or on farms.


OSHA report details agency's role protecting worker safety and health during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

OSHA's report, The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: OSHA's Role in the Response*, documents OSHA's activities within the Unified Command to protect the safety and health of workers involved in the response to last year's Gulf Coast oil spill. During the peak of the operations, more than 47,000 workers were involved in the response, and many had no prior experience with oil spill cleanup operations. The report is available, along with other resources, on the OSHA Web page, Keeping Workers Safe During Oil Spill Response and Cleanup Operations.


Steel manufacturer fined more than $500,000 for repeatedly exposing workers to fall and machine hazards

OSHA cited steel manufacturer Republic Engineered Products Inc. in Lorain, Ohio, for seven willful and three repeat safety violations, with penalties of $563,000, for failing to protect workers from fall hazards and failing to implement adequate lockout/tagout procedures to prevent injury from hazardous equipment. The company also has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses enforcement resources on employers that have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.

OSHA began the inspection of the Lorain facility after a worker who fell 9 feet from a coil transfer car was hospitalized with a broken pelvis. Willful violations were cited for exposing employees to falls from the car and an unguarded platform, and for failing to affix lockout/tagout devices tocontrol the unexpected energizing of equipment. Repeat violations were cited for failure to train employees in lockout/tagout procedures; specify the procedural steps necessary to lock out electrical, hydraulic and gravitational energy sources for the coil transfer car; and isolate all hazardous energy sources. See the news release for more information.


Oklahoma glass manufacturer improves workplace safety with help of OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program

When Cameron Glass Inc. in Broken Arrow, Okla., was experiencing frequent workplace safety incidents, the small business manufacturer of fabricated glass products contacted OSHA for help improving the company's safety and health management program. The company set up an appointment with the Oklahoma Labor Department's On-site Consultation Program. During the on-site consultation walkthrough, consultants identified multiple high hazards needing correction. These included several machines that needed additional guarding, pinch points on machinery that needed to be eliminated, slip and water hazards, broken electrical outlets, a loose electrical connection, and excessive noise levels that required hearing protection.

The consultation team worked with Cameron to correct all identified safety and health hazards and to improve elements of the safety and health management programs. Cameron's greatly improved safety and health awareness led to the company being approved for certification in OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. According to Cameron's Safety Manager, the site's strategic integration of SHARP's criteria, including management's commitment to implementing an exemplary safety system shaped by employees, has been the key to reducing workplace injuries and illness at the site. See the success story for more information.


Committee will advise OSHA on safety and health issues affecting federal workers

OSHA will convene a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health June 7 at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. The committee will welcome new member Edward A. Hamilton Sr., Director of Facilities and Administrative Services Staff for the U.S. Department of Justice. Among the issues for discussion are OSHA's outreach and education campaign to prevent heat illness in outdoor workers and its application to federal workers. The committee advises the Secretary of Labor on occupational safety and health issues related to federal employees, including advice on how to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses within the federal workforce. FACOSH members also recommend methods for establishing and maintaining effective occupational safety and health programs in each federal department and agency.


Michaels shares OSHA's accomplishments at national industrial hygienists conference

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels addressed 2,000 attendees of the American Industrial Hygiene Association's 2011 Conference and Exposition in Portland, Ore., to share the agency's accomplishments and future goals to protect workers from occupational health hazards. Michaels opened the May 18 general session by showing the audience a short video that highlights OSHA successes. After the video presentation, Michaels discussed OSHA's history of creating standards that save workers' lives without placing a financial burden on employers or stifling innovation and industry.


Green Jobs: OSHA Harwood grantee offers free spray foam industry safety training

The Sustainable Workplace Alliance is conducting free training classes, developed with funding from an OSHA Susan Harwood Targeted Topic Training Grant, about hazards involved in working with Spray Polyurethane Foam. This weather insulating and sealing agent contains isocyanates, potential human carcinogens that can cause work-related asthma. The five half-day training classes will provide in-depth information about the hazards involved in the use of Spray Polyurethane Foam and how to protect the health and safety of employees working with it. Each attendee will receive four PowerPoint presentations on CD, written safety programs, handouts and other valuable training-related tools--all available in English and Spanish. Classes will take place June-September in Dallas, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, and Orlando. For more information or to register, visit the Sustainable Workplace Alliance Web site.

The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations to provide training and education programs for employers and workers on the recognition, avoidance and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces.


Water, rest and shade: Protecting workers from heat-related illness

OSHA has initiated a national outreach campaign to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat. OSHA is leveraging relationships with other state and local partners, employers, trade organizations, unions, community groups, educational institutions and healthcare professionals to disseminate training materials across the country with a very simple message: "water, rest and shade."

OSHA's new Heat Illness Campaign Web page provides educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Multiple copies of publications can be ordered from OSHA's Web site. Additionally, OSHA is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on weather service alerts that will incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the United States. NOAA is also including pertinent worker safety information on its Heat Watch Web page.


OSHA participates in national "Don't Fry Day"

OSHA partnered May 27 with the National Weather Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to join the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention's "Don't Fry Day" campaign.

"Don't Fry Day" is an annual event--which takes place on the Friday before Memorial Day--that seeks assistance from the news media to help educate the public about the danger of extreme heat and ultraviolet radiation. See the public information statement from the National Weather Service for more information.


OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of materials and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for resources including a short video using old and new footage to highlight key moments in the agency's history, an interactive timeline and a commemoration of the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. The page also links to an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels as well as a video of his participation in a panel discussion on the nation's progress in worker safety and health over the past forty years and the challenges that lie ahead.


OSHA photo contest

In celebration of OSHA's 40th anniversary, the agency is holding a photo contest promoting worker safety. Picture It!: Safe Workplaces for Everyone challenges anyone with a passion for photography to capture an image of workplace safety and health and share it with OSHA. See the contest Web site for more information.


Product safety recalls for June 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljun11.html

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May 2011

Michaels stresses injury and illness prevention at Air National Guard safety summit

Michaels stresses injury and illness prevention at Air National Guard
safety summit

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels spoke May 3 at the Air National Guard's Executive Safety Summit in Orlando, Fla. Michaels spoke to more than 1,000 ANG senior leaders and safety professionals praising the ANG's commitment to safety and emphasizing the importance of Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. Michaels told the audience that an Injury and Illness Prevention Program offers a framework to help employers find and fix hazards in their workplaces--before their workers get hurt. Michaels received a memento of his participation in the summit from Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt, III, USAF. Wyatt said OSHA's guidance and programs are an integral part of daily operations and safety throughout the ANG enterprise.

 


High-hazard industries in Michigan invited to request on-site consultations to improve workplace safety and health

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is inviting employers to participate in the state's seventh annual "Take a Stand Day" June 8. The MIOSHA program is dedicating more than 125 professional staff to visit Michigan high-hazard industries targeted by the MIOSHA Strategic Plan. MIOSHA safety and health professionals--including compliance staff, outreach consultants, managers, and supervisors--will be scheduled on "Take a Stand Day" to provide on-site consultations. MIOSHA's free On-site Consultation Service inspects small business workplaces at the request of employers to help them identify and correct potential safety and health hazards. Participants must agree to correct all serious violations. More than 1,300 employers have participated in "Take a Stand Day" since 2005. Employers wishing to participate in this year's event must submit their requests by May 25. See the flyer* for more information.


Water, rest and shade: Protecting workers from heat-related illness

OSHA has a national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat. OSHA is leveraging relationships with other state and local partners, employers, trade organizations, unions, community groups, educational institutions and healthcare professionals to disseminate training materials across the country with a very simple message: "water, rest and shade." OSHA's new Heat Illness Campaign Web page provides educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Multiple copies of publications can be ordered from OSHA's Web site. Additionally, OSHA is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on weather service alerts that will incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the United States. NOAA is also including pertinent worker safety information on its Heat Watch Web page.


Product safety recalls for May 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelmay11.html

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April 2011

Appeals court upholds OSHA's fall protection directive

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a challenge by the National Roofing Contractors Association to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's December 2010 directive on the use of fall protection in residential construction. The directive withdrew an earlier one that allowed certain residential construction employers to bypass some fall protection requirements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 40 workers are killed on average each year as a result of falls from residential roofs.

"Fall protection saves lives," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "There are effective means available to protect residential construction workers from falls. We applaud the court's decision upholding this updated, common-sense directive." Construction and roofing companies have until June 16 to comply with the new directive. See the news release for more information.


OSHA issues hazard alert on hair smoothing and straightening products that could release formaldehyde

OSHA issued a hazard alert to hair salon owners and workers about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with some hair smoothing and straightening products. Oregon's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Connecticut's Department of Public Health, and agencies in several other states have already issued warnings. Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose, cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs and is also linked to nose and lung cancer.

Responding to complaints about possible exposure, OSHA and many state occupational safety and health agencies are conducting investigations. During one investigation, federal OSHA's air tests showed formaldehyde at levels greater than OSHA's allowable limits, even though the product tested was labeled as formaldehyde-free. The hazard alert provides information about OSHA's investigations, the health hazards of formaldehyde and how to protect workers using hair smoothing and straightening products. See the news release for more information.


Michaels tells Congress that worker safety and health benefits the economy

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels testified April 14 to a subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations on OSHA's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request. Michaels explained that in addition to being the right thing to do, protecting workers also makes economic sense. A March 2010 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company report showed that the most disabling injuries, (those involving six or more days away from work) cost American employers more than $53 billion a year -- over $1 billion a week -- in workers' compensation costs alone.

Michaels said, "The FY 2012 OSHA budget request reflects one of this country's major priorities -- ensuring that this nation's working men and women have the right and the ability to come home from work to their families safe and sound. OSHA's flexible common-sense efforts focus on assistance to employers who are trying to do the right thing, while using our enforcement resources to deter employers who neglect their responsibilities so that we can prevent injuries illnesses and fatalities in this nation's workplaces." See the OSHA Web site for his complete testimony.


Precautions for handling hazardous drugs highlighted by OSHA, NIOSH and The Joint Commission

OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and The Joint Commission sent a letter* to U.S. hospitals highlighting the need for safe practices in handling hazardous drugs that can pose serious job-related health risks to workers. Drugs used for chemotherapy (such as antineoplastic drugs), antiviral treatments, hormone regimens, and other applications have potential for serious adverse occupational health effects, the agencies said. Irreversible effects from work-related exposures even at low levels, without taking appropriate precautions, can include cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, allergic reactions and others.

"Substances that present a potential health hazard to workers must be included in an employer's hazard communication program, and it should be readily available and accessible to all, including temporary workers, contractors, and trainees," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels in a news release issued by the agencies. "We encourage employers to address safe drug handling by committing their management staff to taking a leadership role in identifying and remediating hazards, offering employee training, and evaluating workplace injury and illness prevention programs for continuous improvement."


Web page offers information about the effects of radiation dispersal from Japan on U.S. workers

A new page on the OSHA Web site, Radiation Dispersal from Japan and the Effect on U.S. Workers, provides information to help workers, employers, and occupational health professionals regarding the release of airborne contamination from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan. Although it is not expected that harmful levels of radiation will reach the United States, OSHA is working with other federal agencies to monitor domestic reports of radiation concerns and provide up-to-date worker protection information. This Web page includes links to a worker information page OSHA developed jointly with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, as well as other resources such as frequently asked questions about the Japan Nuclear crisis*, radiation basics, and updates on the current situation in Japan.


New Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheet provides information on rigging hazards

OSHA issued a new Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheet to help protect workers against hazards posed during rigging operations in shipyards. SHIPS: Rigging provides both employers and workers with real-world hazard information and solutions. Workers performing rigging functions use ropes and cables to secure a ship's parts and sections for lifting by cranes, hoists and other material handling equipment. OSHA's Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health identifies rigging as a high-hazard operation because loads that are improperly rigged can expose workers to falls, electric shock, amputation and being crushed by objects, among other hazards. See the OSHA Web site for more information on protecting the safety and health of workers in the Maritime Industry.


OSHA seeks applications from organizations to offer online worker safety and health training courses

OSHA is seeking applications from organizations to provide 10- or 30-hour online OSHA Outreach Training Program courses in the construction, general and maritime industries. The program trains workers on their rights, describes employer responsibilities, explains how to file a complaint and describes work-related hazards. Applications must be received by OSHA's Directorate of Training and Education by June 27. A proposal conference will be held April 19 in Arlington Heights, IL, to provide potential applicants with information about the training program, OSHA expectations for online trainers, online courses and methods of instruction, and administrative and program requirements for online trainers. For more information see the Federal Register notice or contact Don Guerra at guerra.don@dol.gov or Jim Barnes at barnes.jim@dol.gov.


OSHA revisions strengthen Outreach Training Program

OSHA revised its voluntary Outreach Training Program requirements and procedures to improve the quality of outreach classes and ensure the integrity of its authorized trainers. Formerly known as the "program guidelines," the new "program requirements"* will apply to all Outreach Training Programs, with separate procedures for each specific program. The new requirements include a trainer code of conduct and a Statement of Compliance which requires each trainer to verify that the training they conduct will be in accordance with the Outreach Training Program requirements and procedures. Other program enhancements involve limiting classroom size to a maximum of 40 students, limiting the use of translators to those with safety and health experience, and limiting the amount of time spent on videos during the training. See the news release for more information.

The Outreach Training Program, a voluntary participation information resource, is part of OSHA's Directorate of Training and Education. The program comprises a national network of more than 17,000 independent trainers who teach workers and employers about OSHA, workers' rights and how to identify, avoid and prevent workplace hazards. There are 10- and 30-hour outreach classes for construction, general industry and maritime, and 15-hour classes for disaster site workers. Students who successfully complete classes receive completion cards.


Montana On-site Consultation Program coordinates efforts to improve statewide injury and illness rates

In 2007, Montana had the highest injury and illness rate in the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the national rate of injuries and illnesses among private sector industry workers declined since 2006, incident rates in Montana rose. By 2008 the incident rate in Montana was more than 60 percent higher than the national average. In response to this situation, the Montana Safety and Health Bureau, which administers OSHA's On-site Consultation Program in that state, teamed up with the nonprofit organization WorkSafeMT to leverage its own promotional and training efforts and bring greater awareness of OSHA's On-site Consultation Program to the state's employers and workers. WorkSafeMT facilitates communication among safety groups in the state and has coordinated events designed to showcase workplace safety and health resources. See OSHA's Web site for more information.


OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of resources and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for an interactive timeline of the agency's history, an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and a commemoration of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire.


OSHA seeks small businesses input on proposed column for employer injury and illness logs

OSHA and the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy will hold a series of three teleconferences to reach out to the small business community for input on OSHA's proposal to add a column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders on employer injury and illness logs. This proposal would require those employers already mandated to keep injury and illness records to add the step of checking a column when recording work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The proposed rule covers only MSDs that employers are already required to record under the longstanding OSHA rule on recordkeeping. Small businesses from around the country are encouraged to participate in the teleconferences. The first will be held Monday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The second and third will be held Tuesday, April 12 at 9 a.m. EDT and 1:30 p.m. EDT. Participants may provide input about their experiences in recording work-related MSDs and how they believe the proposed rule would impact them. Those interested in participating in one of these teleconferences must contact Regina Powers at powers.regina@dol.gov, by Monday, April 4. See the news release for more information.


Judge upholds OSHA citation against Wal-Mart in crowd management fatality case

OSHA applauds the March 25 ruling by Chief Administrative Law Judge Covette Rooney, of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, upholding the citation and full penalty issued to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for inadequate crowd management following a November 2008 trampling death of a worker at one of the company's retail locations in New York.

OSHA cited Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for inadequate crowd management after a Nov. 28, 2008, “Blitz Friday” holiday sales event during which a worker was knocked to the ground and crushed by a crowd of about 2,000 shoppers surging into a Wal-Mart store in Valley Stream, N.Y. OSHA inspectors found that the store put workers at risk by failing to implement reasonable and effective crowd management practices and issued a citation, carrying a $7,000 fine, under the agency's general duty clause. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. disputed the citation before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which decides contests of citations or penalties resulting from OSHA inspections of American workplaces.

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels said in a news release, “Today's ruling supports OSHA's position that, even in the absence of a specific rule or standard, employers are still legally responsible for providing a place of employment free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious injury or death.”


Michaels testifies before Congress on construction worker safety

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels testified March 16 before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending during a hearing on the construction industry and OSHA's role in protecting construction workers. Michaels explained that in the four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted, OSHA has been instrumental in the nation's dramatic progress in reducing work-related deaths and injuries. "The safety of construction workers is one of OSHA's top concerns," said Michaels. "Almost every construction worker that dies leaves behind a family whose lives are devastated." Photographs and the transcript of Michaels' testimony are available online.


Joint OSHA-NIOSH products describe value of spirometry tests in preventing lung disease

OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health developed two guidance documents, one for workers and one for employers, which describe the use of spirometry testing to help reduce and prevent worker exposure to respiratory hazards.

Spirometry is a common pulmonary function test that measures how well a person moves air in and out of the lungs. Workers who inhale some types of dusts, gases or other air contaminants, including food flavorings such as diacetyl, can experience lung damage. The spirometry test may detect breathing problems or significant changes in a worker's lung function at an early stage. The information in these new guidance documents help employers identify and eliminate hazardous workplace exposures and reduce or prevent the chances of workers developing lung disease. See the news release for more information.


Grain handling company fined more than $460,000 after worker is killed in storage bin

OSHA inspections of three Gavilon Grain LLC facilities, initiated after a worker was killed while cleaning a grain bin, resulted in this Ohio subsidiary of Gavilon Group LLC being fined $465,500 and cited with 46 safety and health violations. The 20-year-old worker was killed at the company's Morral, Ohio, facility when he was caught in a mechanical device used to move grain through the bottom of the bin. As a result of violations discovered at the Morral location, OSHA initiated inspections at the company's facilities in West Jefferson and Harpster, Ohio. These investigations fall under the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. In 2010 and 2009, OSHA cited Gavilon Group facilities in Nebraska and Delaware, respectively, for violations of the Grain Handling and other standards. See the news release for more information.


Paper company fined more than $200,000 after worker is burned by high-pressure steam

OSHA fined Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC $212,000 and cited the company for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards following a September 2010 incident in which a worker at the company's Lincoln, Maine, paper mill was burned when a high-pressure steam line burst. OSHA found that the company failed to block the steam line to prevent any potential release of steam or hot condensate, which is steam that has been condensed back into water. OSHA had cited the mill in March 2008 for a similar hazard. Other recurring conditions included not covering hot condensate lines with insulating materials; having unguarded open-sided work platforms; and not verifying that electrical equipment parts had been de-energized before employees worked on them. See the news release for more information.


Oil refinery fined more than $200,000 for exposing workers to potential fires and explosions

OSHA fined Calumet Lubricants Co. LP, a subsidiary of Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP, $207,500 and cited the company with 58 violations for exposing workers to possible fires, explosions and other hazards. OSHA inspected Calumet's Cotton Valley, La., refinery as part of the agency's Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program. The PSM standard emphasizes management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices. Inspectors found that the company seriously endangered the safety and lives of its workers through violations such as failing to conduct adequate inspections and testing of piping and pressure vessels; failing to ensure that employees in process and administrative buildings were provided adequate protection in case of an explosion; and failing to provide an adequate lockout/tagout program for the control of hazardous energy. See the news release for more information.

Previous OSHA fines against Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP subsidiaries include $8,500 in 2004; $122,400 in 2007; and $173,000 in February 2010. The company and its subsidiaries employ about 600 workers at six refineries within northwest Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois.


Colorado metal fabricator gets help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program

DeBourgh Manufacturing Company contacted OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program in the mid-1990s when the metal fabricator was providing minimal, limited training to workers at its La Junta, Colo., facility and experiencing approximately 30 worker injuries per year. The on-site consultation team identified 27 safety and health hazards in its first visit. DeBourgh shifted gears and began the transformation of the company's safety culture by focusing on preventing hazards and emphasizing the importance of safety. By the early 2000s, the company had greatly improved safety and health awareness and was approved for the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program in 2003. DeBourgh officials now conduct daily walkthroughs and monthly employee meetings to ensure the effectiveness of the site's safety and health program. The company's attention to safety resulted in the implementation of improved ventilation, machine guarding, maintenance requirements and noise exposure controls for specific processes or machinery. See OSHA's Web site for more information.


Indiana OSHA fines Notre Dame nearly $78,000 after student employee is killed while filming football practice

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the University of Notre Dame $77,500 and cited it with the most serious safety violation allowable under Indiana law after the fatal injury of a 20-year-old student employee. Declan Sullivan was killed while videotaping a Notre Dame football practice from a scissor lift that toppled in high winds Oct. 27, 2010. IOSHA inspectors found overwhelming evidence that the university made a decision to use its scissor lifts in known adverse weather conditions. The agency also cited Notre Dame with five other serious safety violations, including failure to properly train the student employees in how to operate a scissor lift. The Indiana Department of Labor also issued a letter* to a number of associations around the state to urge high schools, colleges and universities to review their use of scissor lifts in athletic and band events. See the news release* for more information. Indiana is one of 27 states that operates an OSHA-approved State Plan that is responsible for the adoption and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards throughout the state.


Virginia Occupational Safety and Health inspector saves roofing worker from potentially fatal fall

A safety inspector with the Virginia Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Program cited a contactor in August for failing to ensure that workers on a rooftop had proper fall protection. Falls are a leading killer in Virginia. The contractor was required to abate this hazard by providing his roofing workers with harnesses and lanyards, as well as the required training in the use of this equipment. Months later, one of the contractor's workers who was wearing the fall protection equipment slipped and fell while framing a single-family house in Forest, Va. According to the contractor, not only did this equipment save the worker's life but it prevented him from suffering any injury. The contractor called the inspector to thank him and the VOSH Compliance Management team for putting his company on the right path in time to prevent a needless workplace tragedy.


Product safety recalls for April 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelapr11.html

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March 2011

OSHA issues guide to help small businesses comply with new cranes and derricks rule

OSHA now offers a guidance document to help small businesses comply with the agency's cranes and derricks rule published in August 2010. This new standard was issued to address the number of worker injuries and deaths associated with the use of cranes and derricks in construction. Chapters in the Small Entity Compliance Guide for Final Rule for Cranes and Derricks in Construction correspond to sections of the standard to help employers understand what they must do to protect their workers from dangerous, sometimes fatal injuries. This guide accompanies other OSHA compliance materials on crane-related topics available on the agency's Web site including a PowerPoint overview, Web chat transcript, Webinar, list of frequently asked questions and fact sheets.

Dangers of distracted driving

OSHA's new distracted driving brochure* explains to employers and supervisors the importance of preventing texting by their workers while driving. Texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of worker fatalities. Distracted driving crashes killed more than 5,400 people and injured nearly 500,000 in 2009. OSHA encourages trade associations to share this brochure with their members. It can be downloaded or ordered from the Publications page of OSHA's Web site.

This resource is part of OSHA's Distracted Driving Initiative, which OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels discussed with stakeholders in a March 3 teleconference. Participants representing workers, employers, trade associations, insurance companies, small businesses, government agencies and advocacy groups participated in a discussion of strategies and plans to work cooperatively to help inform businesses of the importance of preventing texting while driving. See OSHA's Distracted Driving Web page for more information on the agency's efforts to protect workers from this growing hazard.

Company fined more than $200,000 for exposing workers to lead hazards at outdoor gun range

OSHA fined E.N. Range Inc. $201,600 and cited the company for exposing workers removing lead pellets at a gun range in Oley, Pa., to dangerously high levels of lead. OSHA initiated an inspection in response to a complaint alleging worker exposure to lead as well as deficiencies in the company's respiratory protection program. Inspectors found that the company willfully jeopardized the health of its workers by failing to follow required procedures of OSHA's lead standard. These included failing to provide shower facilities for employees exposed to lead, failing to ensure workers exposed to lead washed their hands and face before eating or drinking, failing to provide exposed workers with a change room and failing to ensure that workers removed their protective clothing in the change room at the end of their shifts. OSHA's lead standard requires employers to protect their workers from lead exposure, which can cause many serious health issues including brain damage, paralysis and kidney disease, as well as death. See the news release for more on the company's health and safety violations. In August 2010 OSHA fined E.N. Range more than $2 million for knowingly exposing workers to lead and other hazards.

New Jersey summit will promote Latino worker safety and health

On April 10 OSHA and the Department of Labor's Wage & Hour Division will host the Southern New Jersey Action Summit for Latino and Immigrant Workers. The summit will bring together workers and representatives from faith-based and community organizations, worker organizations, consulates, and government officials to discuss workplace safety and health issues, workplace wage and hour issues, worker rights and how to voice concerns when rights are violated. Current strategies and collaborative efforts to reach the Latino worker population will also be shared. To address the particular needs of the area's Latino workforce, summit organizers will focus on migrant and farm worker issues. Information related to other industries such as construction, landscaping and restaurants will also be provided. See the flier in English* or Spanish* for more information, and visit OSHA's National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health & Safety Web page for more resources.

Equipment manufacturer gets help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program

R-V Industries Inc., an industrial process equipment manufacturer in Honey Brook, Pa., contacted OSHA's On-site Consultation Program to request a review of its safety and health program and to ask for help addressing specific workplace hazards. Following recommendations offered by the consultant who visited R-V's Honeybrook facility, the company made changes to protect workers, such as ensuring the proper use of personal protective equipment and installing engineering controls to eliminate hazards at their source. The consultant also worked with R-V's managers and workers to initiate a shift in their workplace safety culture, with a greater commitment to creating and following an effective injury and illness prevention program. This led OSHA to award the company Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program status. In 2002, R-V corporate wide had 41 OSHA recordable injuries and 132 reported injuries. Last year eight injuries were reported among the company's three facilities. See OSHA's Web site for more information on this safety and health success story.

Washington OSHA fines company nearly $440,000 for exposing workers to asbestos

Washington's Department of Labor & Industries fined state certified abatement contractor Spenser Abatement Services Inc. $437,300 and cited the company for willfully exposing workers to asbestos hazards at two separate abatement projects involving a former high school and a building used by the state's Department of Transportation. Inspectors determined that the company ignored basic safety measures, and performed open dry removal that exposed workers to unsafe levels of asbestos. Asbestos is an extremely hazardous material that can lead to asbestosis, a potentially fatal lung disease, as well as mesothelioma and lung cancer. See the news release for more information. Washington is one of 27 states that operates an OSHA-approved State Plan that is responsible for the adoption and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards throughout the state.

New OSHA brochure explains workers' rights to a safe and healthful workplace

OSHA's new brochure, We Are OSHA -- We Can Help*, provides information to help workers understand their rights under the OSH Act and what OSHA can do to help protect them. The brochure covers topics including: employer responsibilities, who OSHA covers, OSHA safety and health standards, the right of workers to request an OSHA inspection of their workplace, and the right of workers not to be punished or discriminated against for using their OSHA rights. Visit the Publications page of OSHA's Web site for more occupational safety and health resources.

OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of resources and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for an interactive timeline of the agency's history, an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and a commemoration of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire.

OSHA issues enforcement guidance on providing and paying for personal protective equipment for general industry workers

A new directive went into effect Feb. 10 that provides OSHA enforcement personnel with instructions for determining whether employers have complied with the agency's personal protective equipment standards. These PPE standards require employers to provide--at no cost to workers--protective equipment, such as goggles and face shields to prevent eye injuries; earplugs and earmuffs to prevent hearing loss; and respirators to protect workers from exposure to air contaminants. The new Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry* clarifies what type of PPE employers must provide at no cost to workers and when employers are required to pay for PPE. The directive also provides guidance that allows employers to use PPE that complies with current consensus standards, and updates PPE enforcement policies based on court and review commission decisions. See the news release for more information.

Oilfield services company fined nearly $340,000 for failing to record worker injuries and illnesses

OSHA issued $337,500 in fines to Superior Energy Services Inc. and five subsidiary companies, citing them with 38 violations of the OSHA recordkeeping standard. OSHA inspectors found that the parent corporation, a New Orleans-based provider of oil and gas field services and labor, allowed its subsidiaries to willfully disregard requirements to record employees' work-related injuries and illnesses in the OSHA 300 log. Together, the violations cited include 187 instances of improperly recording or failing to record information in the OSHA log. See the news release for more information on Superior Energy Services' failure to properly record injuries and illnesses that its workers suffered on the job.

Quick action by OSHA inspector helps avert worker injuries in trench collapse

When a compliance safety and health officer from OSHA's Chicago North Area Office arrived at a jobsite in January to conduct a trench inspection, he observed an employee working in an unprotected six-foot deep trench that had undermined sections. The compliance officer identified the hazards to the employer who voluntarily removed the worker from the trench. Within minutes, the undermined section collapsed directly onto the area where the employee had been working. Detailed information on excavation safety is available on OSHA's Trenching and Excavation Safety and Health Topics Web page.

Alliance Program Roundtable meets to promote construction worker safety and health

The OSHA Alliance Program Construction Roundtable met Feb. 17 at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C., to share information about OSHA initiatives and the agency's direction. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels addressed 21 representatives from 14 Alliances about subjects including OSHA's 40th anniversary, Regulatory Agenda and FY 2012 Budget Request*. The group also received overviews of OSHA's most frequently cited standards, as well as updates on topics including distracted driving, injury and illness prevention programs, cranes and derricks, residential fall protection, and the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The group provided feedback on new Roundtable-developed Construction Safety Design Solutions that focus on preventing falls in the construction industry. The Roundtable members previously developed a variety of free compliance assistance materials for workers and employers, as well as Construction Safety Design Solutions that OSHA is considering as the possible basis for OSHA compliance assistance products.

OSHA signs safety and health alliance with Mexican Consulate in Little Rock

Under an Alliance signed Feb. 18 by OSHA and the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, Ark., consulate personnel will work closely with OSHA's Arkansas and Oklahoma offices to improve workplace safety and health for Mexican workers in these states. The Alliance will focus on enhancing safety and health training and educational goals, outreach and communication. The consulate, which serves approximately 120 people a day, represents and assists Mexican workers in the construction, manufacturing and poultry industries. See the news release, available in English and Spanish, for more information on this Alliance.

Metal casting facility gets help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program

When the Clow Valve Company's metal casting facility in Oskaloosa, Iowa, was experiencing OSHA recordable incident rates nearly twice the national average for its industry, it contacted Iowa OSHA's On-site Consultation Service and requested an on-site visit. The OSHA On-site Consultation Program is a free and confidential service that small and medium-sized businesses may use to improve their safety and health performance. Representatives from Iowa On-site Consultation identified 19 safety concerns and 21 industrial hygiene issues during a comprehensive review of the company's facility. Clow Valve abated potential hazards through actions such as installing electrical wiring upgrades and additional ventilation systems for pollution control. As a result of these and other safety and health improvements, Clow Valve achieved Star status in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program in 2009 and had a recordable incident rate that was less than half the national industry average at the end of 2010. See OSHA's Web site for more information on this safety and health success story.

North Carolina issues forklift hazard alert to prevent workplace injuries and deaths

North Carolina's Occupational Safety and Health Division published a hazard alert* on the dangers of forklifts and material handling. Seven fatalities occurred in North Carolina during 2010 as a result of material handling incidents. The state's Occupational Safety and Health Division offers free training to employers on occupational safety and health standards.

Product safety recalls for March 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelmar11.html

 

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February 2011

OSHA at 40: Web-based timeline commemorates the nation's workplace safety and health milestones

April 28, 2011, marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of OSHA. Since OSHA's creation, the nation has seen remarkable progress in worker health and safety. Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of activities to celebrate these accomplishments. We will begin with an interactive timeline that marks important moments in the history of OSHA's efforts, along with those of its state partners, to reduce workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The page will also include a special message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. We invite our stakeholders to check the OSHA at 40 Web page later this week and join us in celebrating four decades of healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America.

OSHA produces new training video on respiratory protection for healthcare workers

OSHA has produced a new training video for healthcare employers and workers that explains the proper use of respirators and the procedures to follow to assure that respirators protect workers from airborne hazards in healthcare settings. The 33-minute video explains the major components of a respiratory protection program including fit-testing, medical evaluations, training and maintenance. The video also discusses the difference between respirators and surgical masks, features a segment on common respiratory hazards found in healthcare settings, and demonstrates how respirator use helps protect workers from exposure to airborne chemicals. See the news release for more information on this video and visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics: Respiratory Protection page to learn more about respirator safety and health.

Michaels talks about green job safety at international conference

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels participated in an international panel discussion on green job safety at a Feb. 4 Trilateral Roundtable that included representatives from the United States, Canada and the European Union. Michaels discussed ways that government can work with the scientific and engineering community and with employers and workers to prevent green job worker injuries and illnesses. More than 50 U.S., E.U. and Canadian participants took part in two days of roundtable panel discussions at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C., to exchange information, best practices and ideas on preparing workers and employers to meet the increasingly complex demands of transitioning to a green economy. See the OSHA Web site for more information on green job safety.

OSHA outreach efforts educate stakeholders about cranes and derricks rule

OSHA's Office of Construction Services continues to reach out to stakeholders with in person and webinar presentations explaining key elements of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Final Rule* that went into effect Nov. 8, 2010. OSHA personnel have presented information to more than 900 participants from organizations including the Associated General Contractors of America, Crane Certification Association of America, Building Trades Employers Association and Operating Engineers International Union. A recording of the Webinar, a 60-minute PowerPoint presentation, is available on OSHA's Cranes and Derricks Web page, along with a slide show, fact sheets, frequently asked questions and other resources to help ensure that workers operating or working near cranes and derricks remain safe on the job.

Power company fined nearly $200,000 after worker is electrocuted

OSHA fined North Central Power Co. Inc. of Radisson, Wis., $199,800 following an investigation into the death of a lineman who was electrocuted while working to repair a 7,200-volt power line in August 2010. OSHA issued the electrical power generation, transmission and distribution company six safety violations that include willfully exposing workers to electrocution hazards. This investigation meets the requirements for OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. See the news release for more information.

California OSHA conference reaches out to Latino workers

OSHA hosted a free regional Latino Workforce Outreach and Education Stakeholders Conference on Safety, Health and Worker Rights Feb. 1, in Oakland, Calif. The one-day event, organized in coordination with California OSHA, federal OSHA and the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, featured informational booths and several health and safety workshops. The conference was attended by nearly 60 representatives from community organizations, organized labor groups, faith-based community groups, educators, consulates, employer associations and others. This was the latest in a series of OSHA outreach events following the agency's 2010 National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health & Safety. Check future issues of QuickTakes for information on upcoming events including Latino worker summits to be held April 10 in South Jersey and April 12 in Philadelphia, and the Latino Worker Training and Education Fair scheduled to take place in Los Angeles in July.

Propane equipment manufacturer reduces worker injuries with help from On-site Consultation Program

Flame Engineering Inc., a La Crosse, Kan., manufacturer of metal products used in the propane gas industry, noticed a trend of increasing accidents and rising workers' compensation insurance premiums in the mid-1990s. The company recognized the need to improve its safety and health performance and contacted OSHA's On-site Consultation Program to schedule a free, confidential on-site visit to assist the company in detecting potential hazards. A consultant conducted an initial visit that focused on machine guarding hazards. The consultant identified equipment that posed a serious hazard due to lack of proper guarding, and provided an expert to help the company install a proper guarding system. The company requested additional consultation visits over several years, and as a result of implementing the recommended changes, in 2000 Flame Engineering became a participant in the On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. See OSHA's Web site for more information on this safety and health success story.

Oregon OSHA adopts changes to the federal cranes and derricks standard

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division, referred to as Oregon OSHA, will soon adopt changes to its cranes and derricks standard based on federal OSHA's Cranes and Derricks in Construction Final Rule*, which was published in the Federal Register Aug. 9, 2010. The rule is generally identical to the federal rule but includes several additional provisions: more detailed requirements for operators working around power lines, more responsibilities for general contractors and a requirement that training and certification for crane and derrick operators and riggers be carried out by third parties. The new rule will also require construction companies to update their own crane programs by incorporating the new requirements. See the February issue of Oregon OSHA's newsletter, Resource*, for more information. (Note: All OSHA-approved State Plans were expected to adopt a revised cranes and derricks standard, equivalent to the federal standard, within six months of the federal rule's publication.).

Product safety recalls for February 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelfeb11.html

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January 2011

OSHA acts to protect workers in residential construction

OSHA issued a new directive withdrawing a former one that allowed residential builders to bypass fall protection requirements. The directive being replaced, issued in 1995, initially was intended as a temporary policy and was the result of concerns about the feasibility of fall protection in residential building construction. However, according to data from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, there continues to be a high number of fall-related deaths in residential construction and industry experts now feel that feasibility is no longer an issue or concern. The National Association of Home Builders, the National Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association all recommended rescinding the 1995 directive. To view the directive and for more information, visit OSHA's Residential Fall Protection page.


OSHA hosts Web chat on new Regulatory Agenda

OSHA hosted a live Web chat Jan. 5 so that members of the public and press could ask questions about the agency's Fall 2010 Regulatory Agenda. The Labor Department's entire regulatory plan was published in the Dec. 20, 2010, issue of the Federal Register. The agenda contains a statement of OSHA's regulatory priorities and the regulatory actions OSHA wants to highlight as its most important and significant. More than 1,000 readers viewed the live Web chat with nearly 280 submitting questions. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and a panel of OSHA subject matter experts were able to provide more than 70 responses during the one-hour exchange. The entire Web chat can be read on the OSHA Web site.

Illinois contractors fined more than $470,000 for exposing trench workers to cave-in hazards

OSHA issued a total of $473,000 in fines against two Illinois contractors who willfully exposed workers to trenching and excavation hazards. Cited in separate incidents were Di Paolo Co. in Glenview and Gerardi Sewer & Water Co. in Norridge.

Di Paolo was cited with 10 violations and fined $113,000 for allowing workers at a site in Elgin to perform trenching and excavation work at depths of up to 12.5 feet without cave-in protection. OSHA standards require that all excavations five feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Gerardi was cited with 13 violations and fined $360,000 after four separate inspections conducted under OSHA's Trenching and Excavation Special Emphasis Program found that the company failed to properly protect workers at several worksites from trench cave-ins. OSHA had previously issued a combined total of 48 citations to these two companies since 1982. The Gerardi case meets the criteria for OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program, which focuses enforcement efforts on certain employers who defy or ignore their OSH Act obligations.

Two Missouri employers arrested for failing to correct life-threatening worker hazards

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ordered the arrest of Brian Andre, former owner of Andre Tuckpointing and Brickwork, and Regina Shaw, owner of Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc., the successor company to Andre Tuckpointing and Brickwork, for repeatedly failing to comply with court sanctions enforcing OSHA citations. The two were taken into custody by authorities Dec. 28, 2010. The order for incarceration stems from Mr. Andre's and Ms. Shaw's failure to comply with sanctions ordered by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, following the court's initial ruling of contempt against Andre and Shaw in January 2010.

OSHA issued numerous citations from June 2003 to Dec., 2010, to both the original company and its successor, for willful, repeat and serious violations related to fall hazards and scaffolding erection deficiencies, among other issues. See the news release for more information.

OSHA will continue requiring independent safety testing for electrical devices

OSHA announced that it will not abandon its system for ensuring that electrical products used in the workplace are safe. The European Union requested that OSHA explore the possibility of adopting its system, known as Supplier's Declaration of Conformity. Under the EU system, manufacturers declare that their products meet safety requirements before placing these products on the market, thus requiring EU governments to operate a post-market surveillance system to verify whether products are safety compliant after they already are on the market.

Currently, OSHA requires employers to use electrical devices tested and certified by independent testing companies known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories. These companies conduct tests to determine whether products are safe before manufacturers or distributors place them on the market and employers use them in the workplace. See the news release for more information.

Pennsylvania woodworking company improves worker safety with help of On-site Consultation Program

Keystone Wood Specialties, Inc., a wood cabinet and millwork manufacturer located in Lancaster, Pa., took a proactive approach to protecting the well-being of its workers by contacting OSHA's On-site Consultation Program to improve its safety and health management program. A consultant conducted a walkthrough of Keystone's facility, explained OSHA regulations and worked with the company to identify and correct hazards. After reviewing Keystone's written safety and health policies and answering questions about properly completing the OSHA 300 Recordkeeping log, the consultant recommended improvements to the company's safety and health management program. Keystone improved its written safety and health program policy manual and established a safety and health bulletin board. The company also developed a safety calendar and began conducting monthly training sessions on safety and health issues related to the company's operations. As a result of continued improvement, for the last nine years Keystone has been a member of the On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. See OSHA's Web site for more information on this safety and health success story.

OSHA Asks Employers to Protect Workers from Diacetyl Exposure

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommended that employers adopt measures to protect workers from exposure to diacetyl or its substitutes.

Diacetyl is often used to add flavor and aroma to food and other products. Workers who have breathed in the substance while working have often suffered from debilitating lung disease that can prove deadly. Most flavoring chemicals do not have permissible exposure limits set by OSHA. To rectify this, OSHA has initiated rulemaking on on-the-job exposure to diacetyl and similar flavorings.

Take a look at OSHA’s website to learn more.

Product safety recalls for January 2011

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljan11.html

  

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..Last Updated on 12/14/11