SafetyNet News and Highlights

Assistant Secretary Michaels urges action to protect communication tower workers

More communication tower workers were killed in 2013 than in the previous two years combined, and four more tower-related deaths have already occurred in 2014. Every one of those deaths was preventable. This disturbing trend appears to be continuing, and actions must be taken to prevent more deaths.
"We are very concerned about this sharp rise," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels in a Feb. 25 message delivered to the National Association of Tower Erectors. "The fatality rate in this industry is extraordinarily high—tower workers are perhaps 25 times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker."
OSHA is using all of its available tools to improve the safety of telecommunications workers, including reaching out to educate industry and workers, providing free small business consultations, and increasing enforcement in this industry.
For more information, see the press release, read the new blog post, view a recording of Dr. Michaels’ address, or read his full remarks.


GEO Group settlement aims to protect correctional workers from violence on the job

The GEO Group Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla., has entered into a corporate-wide settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that requires the company to implement comprehensive procedures and policies to better safeguard its workers against the hazards of workplace violence in every correctional and adult detention facility that it manages in the nation.
"This corporate-wide settlement agreement will have a far-reaching effect and impact on correctional officers and other staff nationwide," said Teresa A. Harrison, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Atlanta. "This agreement is the first of its kind in the corrections industry that addresses the hazards associated with workplace violence."
In June 2012, OSHA cited the GEO Group for workplace safety violations at a prison facility it managed in Meridian, Miss. For more information on the settlement, see thenews release. To learn more about workplace violence prevention, visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page onworkplace violence.


OSHA announces interim final rule, invites comments on procedures for handling retaliation complaints under Food Safety Modernization Act

OSHA recently published an interim final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling retaliation complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act. FSMA, signed into law January 2011, provides employees who disclose information about a possible violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with protection against retaliation from businesses engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding or importation of food. This interim final rule establishes procedures, burdens of proof, remedies and statutes of limitations similar to other whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA administers.
Individuals may submit comments by April 14, 2014. See the news release for details. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and 21 other statutes. Additional information is available atwww.whistleblowers.gov.


Houston manufacturer cited for eight willful egregious violations after worker severely injured on unguarded machine

Following an incident where a machine operator’s arms were crushed, OSHA has cited Custom Rubber Products LLC with eight willful egregious violations. Proposed penalties for the Houston facility total $560,000.
“Moving machine parts can crush workers or amputate fingers or limbs in an instant,” said Eric Harbin, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Dallas. “Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Employers must ensure that guards are functioning on machines that can cause these injuries, and there is no excuse for failing to provide them.”
Prompted by a complaint, OSHA’s inspection found that the company created a dangerous work environment by failing to protect machine operators and other workers in the machine area from hazards created by rotating parts. During the inspection, OSHA became aware of two other incidents that had previously occurred at the facility involving employees being severely injured while operating similar machinery. See the news releasefor more information.


Innovative concrete drill jig reduces silica exposures

A University of California ergonomics team has designed an innovative concrete drill jig that is proving to be highly effective in limiting worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica, as well reducing fatigue and risk of musculoskeletal injuries. It also increases productivity – a bonus for McCarthy Building Company, Inc., which is using the jig in renovating an historic building in downtown San Francisco. The jig can drive multiple large hammer drills at different angles and heights, and is mounted on a base that allows it to move easily around a construction site. A vacuum collects dust generated by the drill bit.
When a laborer drilled into concrete using a pneumatic rock drill by hand, the team measured silica dust levels that were 14 times higher than the recommended exposure limit set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. But with the jig and dust-capturing device, the exposure level is below the recommended exposure limit. The jig is one of many ways employers can limit worker exposures to silica. For more information on the project, visit the OSHA Website.


Combustible dust, amputation and other hazards at lumber manufacturer in Homerville, Ga. cited by OSHA

OSHA has cited forest products manufacturer Dupont Yard Inc. for 22 safety and health violations following a complaint about hazardous working conditions at the company's Homerville, Ga., facility. Proposed penalties total $279,400. In four previous inspections over the past six years, Dupont Yard has been cited with 39 violations.
"Since 2007, this employer has known about the dangers of a lack of machine guarding and exposure to electric shock, but repeatedly puts workers at risk of serious injury or death," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah. "Earning a paycheck should not involve being in an unsafe work environment."
OSHA cited the company for willfully failing to implement basic lockout-tagout procedures to prevent amputations and other serious injuries during maintenance. Other willful citations include exposing workers to electrical hazards and to unguarded rotating chains and sprocket wheels. The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Read the news release for more information on the citations issued by OSHA.


Shippensburg, Pa. foundry cited for repeat safety violations; fines total $163,240

Domestic Casting Co. LLC has been cited by OSHA for 26 alleged safety violations found at its Shippensburg, Pa. foundry. OSHA initiated an inspection in August 2013 in response to a complaint. The company faces $163,240 in proposed penalties.
"Compromising worker safety will not be tolerated. Domestic Casting continues to put its workers at risk of serious injury or possible death by not addressing and correcting these hazards," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office. "Employers that fail to uphold their responsibility to protect workers and provide a safe and healthful workplace will be held accountable."
Repeat violations by the employer include failing to guard open-sided floors and platforms, failing to enclose sprocket wheels and chains, and exposing workers to electrical hazards. The company was cited for similar violations in 2011 and 2013. In addition, serious citations were issued for exposing workers to struck-by, fall, amputation, electrical, tripping and other hazards. For more details and to read the citations, view the press release.


OSHA issues 2014 inspection plan to reduce injuries and illnesses at high-hazard workplaces

OSHA has issued its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting 2014 program. The plan directs enforcement resources to workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. The SST plan is based on data collected from a survey of 80,000 establishments in high-hazard industries.
The SST program is one of OSHA’s main programmed inspection plans for high-hazard, non-construction workplaces with 20 or more workers. OSHA also implements 13National Emphasis Programs and approximately 140 Regional and Local Emphasis Programs that intensify inspections of hazards or industries such as lead, silica, shipbreaking, trenching/excavations and process safety management. See the news release for more information.


Open for comment: Proposed rules on crystalline silica, workplace injury and illness tracking, and request for information on process safety management

Public hearings on OSHA’s proposed silica rule are scheduled to begin March 18, 2014, at the Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. The deadline for requests to participate was Dec. 12, 2013. However, members of the public are welcome to attend and listen to testimony from OSHA, its expert witnesses and other interested parties. Those members of the public who filed a timely written notice of intention to appear can also ask questions of agency officials and other witnesses during the hearing. For additional information on the proposed rule, visit www.osha.gov/silica.
In addition, the comment period on OSHA’s proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of occupational injuries and illness will be closing March 10, 2014. The proposed rule would amend OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep. It was originally scheduled to close March 8. However, this date falls on a Saturday. The agency will accept comments submitted March 10 as timely. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for more details.
Finally, OSHA also has a request for information seeking public comment on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and related standards, as well as other policy options to prevent major chemical incidents. The public will have until March 10, 2014 to submit written comments. The RFI is in response to Executive Order 13650, which seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security, issued in the wake of the April 2013 West, Texas, tragedy that killed 15 in an ammonium nitrate explosion. For more information, visit the Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security Web page.


Chemical safety public listening sessions continue to encourage input from stakeholders

OSHA recently co-chaired several listening sessions regarding Executive Order 13650 on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab chaired a session in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Feb. 19 along with Area Director Dorina Folse. On Feb. 27, New York Area Director Bob Kulick and Director of OSHA’s Office of Engineering Safety Lisa Long attended another listening session in Newark, NJ, marking the 14th session of the series. Frequent topics have included safer processes, worker/union participation and improved emergency response.
Signed on August 1, 2013 by President Obama, Executive Order 13650 is a multi-agency initiative to improve chemical safety and storage across the country. The Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies have joined forces to improve agency coordination, modernize policies and standards and identify best practices. The series of public listening sessions encourage input from stakeholders to reduce safety and security risks in the production and storage of potentially harmful chemicals. For more information on the executive order and upcoming opportunities to participate, visit the OSHA website.


Employers reminded to post OSHA 300A injury/illness summaries through April 30

OSHA is reminding covered employers to post OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2013 and were logged on OSHA's Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. The summary must be posted between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2014, and should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in certain industries are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, insurance and real estate sectors can be found at http://s.dol.gov/YP.


OSHA teams with local Wisconsin organizations to hold fall protection classes in Spanish

Midwest Certified Training and the Latino Academy of Workforce Development are now offering classes in Spanish which address fall protection safety. Construction contractors, workers, firms who hire roofers and field employees are all encouraged to attend the classes to understand fall hazards in construction as well as the applicable OSHA standards.
Spanish-language classes offer training on roof work safety, ladder safety and personal fall arrest systems, in support of OSHA’s initiative to ensure that workers receive safety training in a language and vocabulary that they understand. Classes are held the second Friday of every month in Madison, Wisconsin. Those interested in attending can register by calling 608-310-4573. To learn more about preventing fatal falls in construction, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls.


New educational resources: Safe patient handling in nursing homes and anti-retaliation rights under the Food Safety Modernization Act
OSHA has developed Safe Patient Handling (PDF*), a new brochure that addresses the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders among nursing home and residential care workers and explains the benefits of implementing safe patient handling programs. For more information about safe patient handling and on protecting healthcare workers, visit OSHA’s Healthcare Web page.
In addition, a new Spanish-language Whistleblower Fact Sheet (PDF*) is available, which details the rights of whistleblowers under the Food Safety Modernization Act. Visit www.whistleblowers.gov for additional fact sheets in English and Spanish.


OSHA and NOAA partner for National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

OSHA and the National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration have joined forces for National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2-8, to address the unique hazards that severe weather poses for workers and employers.
OSHA and NOAA encourage employers to stay aware of weather forecasts, train workers on workplace severe weather plans, and keep emergency supplies, including a battery-operated weather radio, on hand to be better prepared when severe weather strikes. Employers must also ensure that workers involved in response and recovery are protected from potential safety and health hazards.
OSHA provides resources on workplace preparedness and response for severe weather emergencies including tornadoes, floods, and winter weather, among others. Follow all of the week’s activities on NOAA’s Web page and visit OSHA’s Tornado Preparedness and Response page for more information on protecting workers from severe weather events.


Help OSHA evaluate its heat illness prevention campaign


Water. Rest. Shade. Heat Illness Prevention.

OSHA is gathering stakeholder input on the heat illness prevention campaign with a brief survey to evaluate the usefulness of theheat illness prevention campaign website and to identify possible modifications for next year. The survey does not collect any personal information from visitors – only opinions and evaluations of the heat illness prevention campaign. It can be accessed from the heat campaign homepage (click on "Tell us what you think") or at www.surveymonkey.com/s/2013HeatWebpageSurvey.


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Assistant Secretary Michaels addresses oil and gas stakeholders


oil and gas environmental conference

On Dec. 3, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels addressed attendees of the 2013 Oil & Gas Environmental Conference in Dallas, hosted by the University of Texas at Arlington. Michaels applauded the success of OSHA's collaboration with the National STEPS Network on a series of voluntary safety stand-downs at oil and gas worksites in Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota and Texas. The assistant secretary also encouraged participation in the current notices of proposed rulemaking for respirable silica and for recordkeeping, as well as OSHA's recent request for information regarding possible updates to process safety management regulations. The primary goal of the OGEC conference is to achieve better environmental performance and regulatory compliance in the oil and gas industry through the exchange of new ideas and concepts. To learn more about the annual meeting, visit the 2013 conference Web page.


More than $460,000 in fines proposed against Long Island, NY, contractor for fall and scaffolding hazards

Painting & Decorating Inc. was cited by OSHA for repeat fall and scaffolding hazards following an inspection of a work site in Manhasset, N.Y. The painting and stucco contractor has a long history of fall protection and scaffold safety violations and now faces an additional $460,350 in OSHA fines. OSHA's Long Island Area Office opened an inspection at the work site on March 31 under its local emphasis program aimed at preventing falls in the construction industry. The inspection identified that the employer had failed to protect workers from numerous fall and scaffolding hazards, many of which were similar to those cited during previous OSHA inspections of five other Painting & Decorating work sites during the past several years. Hazards included not having the scaffold inspected for defects by a competent person during erection and before workers began work on the scaffold, not restraining the scaffold against tipping, and a lack of protective helmets. Read the news release for a full list of citations. To learn about OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Fatal Falls in Construction, visit the fall prevention Web page.


Tim Graboski Roofing of Delray Beach, Fla., cited for violations following worker electrocution

OSHA has cited Tim Graboski Roofing Inc. of Delray Beach for four safety violations, including two willful, following the death of a worker. The OSHA citation alleges that on June 27, a worker was electrocuted at a residential jobsite in Boca Raton when his employer directed him to reposition a metal extension ladder in close proximity to overhead electrical power lines that had not been de-energized, grounded or guarded. Later, on July 23, OSHA inspectors passing by a residential work site in Cooper City observed workers exposed to fall hazards, prompting a second inspection. Citations were issued to the employer for hazards including exposing workers to electrocution and falls hazards of approximately 30 feet. Citations carry $154,000 in proposed penalties. Read the news release for the full list of citations and a link to OSHA's fall prevention Web page.


Williams Olefins LLC cited for process safety violations after explosion kills 2 workers and injures 80

Williams Olefins LLC in Geismar, La., was cited for six process safety management standard violations, including one willful, after an explosion in June killed two workers and injured 80 people. Process safety management encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards proactively that are associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals, in this case, propylene. "Williams Olefins violated safety and health standards which, when followed, can protect workers from hazardous chemicals," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. "It is the employer's responsibility to find and fix workplace safety violations and to ensure the safety of its workers. Failing to do so cost two workers their lives." The employer was cited with a willful violation for failing to develop clear, written procedures for how to change and put idle pressure vessels into service. Proposed penalties total $99,000. For additional details on the case, view the news release. To learn more about President Obama's executive order to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities, visit OSHA's Executive Order 13650 Web page.



saftey

T.O. Haas Tire & Auto works with free On-site Consultation Program to improve worker safety at 26 locations in three states

After a worker was fatally injured in 2006 when a tire exploded during mounting, T.O. Haas Tire & Auto reached out to OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program, determined to completely revamp its injury and illness prevention program for all 26 locations in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. OSHA's consultants identified a variety of hazards common among many of the T.O. Haas worksites. In turn the company established safety committees and instituted monthly safety meetings to provide training and review safety policies and procedures. The T.O. Haas safety initiative has since resulted in thousands of dollars in savings, as well as significantly reduced injury rates. See the full story on T.O. Hass' success for details.

On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. Visit OSHA's On-site Consultation page for more details.


Product safety recalls

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/

 



Whistleblower Protection Programs

Department of Labor brings court cases against employers for violating workers' 11(c) whistleblower rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act

An eight-member jury in U.S. district court determined that Renaissance Arts and Education Inc., doing business as Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Fla., and its principal, Dr. Bill Jones, violated whistleblower protection provisions of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act when the charter school fired a worker for reporting concerns regarding electrical hazards in the school's theater. The jury ordered the school and Dr. Jones to pay the worker $175,000 in back pay and damages.
The Department of Labor has also filed a complaint in a Pennsylvania federal district court against McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises — a company that provides intermodal trans-loading and storage services for steel products, scrap, dry bulk and other commodities — for firing a worker who reported safety concerns to OSHA. The complaint seeks reinstatement and compensatory damages on behalf of the whistleblower.
Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act prohibits employers from discharging or in any manner retaliating or discriminating against any worker for exercising their rights under the Act. These rights include filing an OSHA complaint, participating in an inspection, raising a safety and health issue with the employer or the government, or any other right afforded by the OSHA law. Of the whistleblower complaints that OSHA receives every year, 11c complaints comprise the majority. For more information on 11c and the 21 other whistleblower statutes under OSHA’s jurisdiction, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.


Study links silica exposure with significant increase in lung cancer risk

A newly published study of a large population of Chinese tin and pottery workers has found that exposure to airborne silica dust is associated with a significant increase in the risk of developing lung cancer. The study, printed in the American Journal of Epidemiology, measured cumulative silica exposure in a group of more than 30,000 workers over a 44-year period. These findings, which confirm that silica is a human carcinogen, are consistent with the preliminary risk assessment in OSHA's new proposed rule to protect workers from occupational exposure to crystalline silica, and have important implications for public health. Read more about the AJOE study here.
OSHA invites and strongly encourages the public to participate in the process of developing a final silica rule through written comments and participation in public hearings. To read the notice of proposed rulemaking, visit https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-20997. Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets, and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings is available at www.osha.gov/silica.


Contractors in Massachusetts and New York fined for failing to protect workers from falls and other hazards

In two separate cases, OSHA has issued citations to construction contractors for exposing workers to fatal fall hazards. Twin Pines Construction Inc., an Everett, Mass.-based wood framing contractor faces $336,200 in proposed fines for violations at worksites in Plymouth and Reading, Mass. The Plymouth inspection was initiated March 15 after a worker suffered broken ribs and leg injuries when an unbraced wooden roof truss system collapsed around him at a worksite. The Reading inspection was opened the same day after OSHA received a complaint about possible safety hazards at a jobsite. OSHA found that employees were exposed to falls, struck-by and impalement hazards. Read the news release for more information.
In addition, OSHA has proposed $272,720 in fines against four New York contractors for safety hazards identified during the construction of a midtown Manhattan hotel. Mamaroneck-based Flintlock Construction Services LLC, the general contractor on the project, received the largest penalties of $249,920 for violating OSHA's fall protection and scaffolding standards after exposing workers to potentially fatal falls of up to 26 feet while on scaffolding. V&P Altitude Corp. in Brooklyn, SMK Associates in Astoria and Maspeth Steel Fabricators in Maspeth also received citations and fines for violations including lack of fall protection and scaffolding, electrical and personal protective equipment violations. See the news release for more details and complete citations.


Four employers cited in crane collapse that fatally injured 1 worker and hurt 8 others in Russellville, Ark.
OSHA has cited Precision Surveillance Corp., Bigge Crane and Rigging Co., Siemens Power Generation Inc. and Entergy Operations Inc. for 30 safety violations after one Precision Surveillance worker was fatally injured when a crane collapsed at the Arkansas Nuclear One Power Plant in March. Eight other workers were hurt. Precision Surveillance Corp., in East Chicago, Ind., is being cited for one serious violation for failing to provide an effective communication system to alert the operator or signalman through an emergency stop signal. Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. in San Leandro, Calif., Siemens Power Generation Inc. in Orlando, Fla., and Entergy Operations Inc. in Russellville are being cited for failing to comply with crane-related hazards. Proposed penalties for all violations total $175,000. To learn more about the details of the case and read the citations, view the press release.


Safety Pays. Falls Cost.

Safety pays, but falls cost: Plan, provide, and train to stop fatal falls in construction

In an article in the Fall 2013 issue of Elevating Safety (PDF*), OSHA Director of Construction Jim Maddux discusses the high cost of fatal falls in construction, which are the leading cause of death in the industry. Worker injuries and deaths don’t just hurt families and communities, he explains, they also take a great toll on our economy. To prevent falls, employers need to plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment, and train everyone to use their equipment safely. To order free educational and training resources, including OSHA's new bilingual ladder safety booklet (PDF*), visit our Publications page or call the Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999.


Hawaii State Seal

Hawaii increases safety and health enforcement efforts, resumes partial responsibility for protecting workers

The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division is reassuming responsibility for regulating Hawaii's manufacturing industries, following improvements in Hawaii's workplace safety and health program. OSHA and HIOSH have shared regulatory responsibility for Hawaii since last September, per an agreement designed to jointly rebuild and strengthen the safety and health regulatory environment in the state.
"I am pleased to report substantial improvements in HIOSH's enforcement-related statistics in construction, as well as overall inspection activities for Hawaii," said Dorothy Dougherty, deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Mahalo (Thank you) Governor Abercrombie, Director Takamine, and to the staff of HIOSH for your efforts and continued cooperation in making Hawaii a safe and health place to work." Read additional details in the press release (PDF*).


OSHA signs new alliances to protect vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries

Alliance Program

OSHA has established two new alliances to protect oil and gas workers – with the Buckeye Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network in Ohio and with the Association of Energy Service Companies in Dallas. The alliances will work to provide local employers and workers with guidance and training resources to address hazards associated with oil and gas operations.
OSHA also has renewed two alliances, with T&T Staff Management Inc. of El Paso, Texas, and with the National Council of La Raza to reach out to temporary, low-wage, limited English proficiency and other vulnerable workers in construction and general industries. Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.


Connecticut and Oregon aim to protect young workers from jobsite hazards

Connecticut Young Workers Health and Safety Team.

Workers under the age of 25 are twice as likely to be injured on the job as older workers and are often unaware of their workplace rights.
In Connecticut, federal and state-run OSHA joined a coalition that has launched a new website on the safety and health of young workers, which consolidates specific resources related to laws and regulations, training programs, educational materials, statistical data and local news and events associated with hiring young workers. Federal OSHA also has a Young Workers Web page with resources for young workers, employers, parents and educators.
In addition, Oregon OSHA's new video series uses humor and song to educate young workers about workplace hazards. The videos, available on YouTube, cover general awareness for teens about speaking up on the job, safe lifting, and ladder and restaurant safety. See the news release for more information.


Certificate program to increase safety and health training for public sector employees


OSHA Training Institute Education Centers

OSHA has launched a new certificate program providing state and local government employees with occupational safety and health training. The program, Public Sector Safety & Health Fundamentals, will be administered by authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Centers as a proactive measure to protect public sector employees nationwide. Students can choose from topics such as occupational safety and health standards for the construction or general industries, safety and health management, accident investigation, fall hazard awareness and recordkeeping. To earn a certificate, participants must complete a minimum of seven courses and 68 contact hours. Students can use OSHA's Searchable Course Schedule to find training courses for the certificate program. See the news release for more information.


Check out OSHA resources on grain handling, temporary workers and more

In a new OSHA blog, Peoria, Ill. Area Director Tom Bielema explains how quickly a worker in a silo or grain storage bin can become engulfed and trapped in flowing grain. The blog summarizes the hazards and offers resources to help employers keep workers safe.
Additional OSHA resources recently made available include new Web pages on workplace hazards faced by temporary workers and women in construction, a chemical industry advisory on the Safe Storage, Handling, and Management of Ammonium Nitrate (PDF*), a Fatal Facts: Cotton Press fact sheet (PDF*), a handy QuickCard on Precautions for Firefighters to Prevent Dust Explosions (PDF*), and a brief for physicians on Medical Evaluation of Renal Effects of Cadmium Exposure (PDF*).


Product safety recalls

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/

 


August Updates

OSHA and NIOSH issue hazard alert to warn of dangers of 1-bromopropane exposure


OSHA-NIOSH hazard alert

OSHA and NIOSH issued a hazard alert to encourage employers that use 1-bromopropane to take OSHA and NIOSH have issued a hazard alert to urge employers that use 1-bromopropane to take appropriate steps to protect workers from exposure. Exposure to 1-BP has been associated with damage to the nervous system among workers, and it has been shown to cause reproductive harm in animal studies. The chemical is used in degreasing operations, furniture manufacturing, and dry cleaning. The hazard alert is issued in response to information on the increased use of 1-BP as a substitute for other solvents as well as recent reports of overexposure in furniture manufacturing. For more information, read the news release or hazard alert (PDF*). See NIOSH's 1- Bromopropane blog for more information on the solvent.


Employers reminded by OSHA, NWS to protect outdoor workers during national heat wave


Water. Rest. Shade. Heat Illness Prevention.

As temperatures continue to soar across the nation, OSHA and the National Weather Service are reminding employers to make sure workers are safe and get enough “Water. Rest. Shade.” On July 18,NWS tweeted that more than 106 million people were under a heat advisory and over 34 million were under an excessive heat warning.
Visit OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Web page for free resources including educational and training materials on protecting workers from excessive heat hazards, and OSHA's free Heat Safety Tool smartphone app.

 

 


American Staffing Association/OSHA webinar reminds employers to train, protect all temp workers


ASA Pro webinars

The American Staffing Association and OSHA recently teamed up to present a webinar that is now available as a free download on the Web. "Playing it Safe ? Workplace Safety Obligations of Staffing Firms and Their Clients," drew more than 1,500 participants on July 18. In the 60-minute presentation, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels and other OSHA officials explained how staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers. Listen to the Webinar here, access handouts here, and view the text of the presentation here.


OSHA and Society of Chemical Hazard Communication Alliance webinar answers questions about GHS requirements


ASA/OSHA GHS webinar

More than 2,500 people virtually attended the July 25 GHS webinar presented through the Alliance of OSHA and the Society of Chemical Hazard Communication. OSHA staff discussed the training needed to meet the first deadline in the implementation phase, Dec. 1, 2013, and answered questions about the Hazard Communication standard since it was updated last year to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Materials that explain the new changes to the requirements are available on OSHA's Hazard Communications page.

 

 


OSHA helps local, state and federal responders in NH prep for emergencies

OSHA offered compliance assistance to more than 600 local, state and federal responders at an annual emergency preparedness conference June 27 in Manchester, N.H. The conference promoted partnerships among agencies and offices to increase the White Mountain State's ability to coordinate resources and keep response workers safe while managing the impact of hurricanes, fires, floods and other emergencies. Among the nearly 40 exhibitors and presenters, OSHA provided information and resources from its Emergency Response webpage and its Heat Illness and Fall Prevention campaigns. Are you organizing your own local compliance assistance workshop to promote worker safety and health? Contact your area OSHA office today!


Free On-site Consultation program helps small businesses improve workplace safety and health


On-site Consultation Program

To assist small businesses in complying with OSHA standards and protecting workers, OSHA's On-site Consultation provides a free, confidential service for businesses with fewer than 250 employees per site (and no more than 500 employees nationwide). On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Learn more about how to request a free consultation on OSHA's On-Site Consultation page.


STEPS, UT-Arlington and OSHA count successes in oil and gas safety stand-down


oil and gas safety stand-down

The numbers are in following a nationwide three-month safety and health stand-down organized by OSHA and its partners for the upstream oil and gas industry: 183 participating worksites conducted nearly 4,000 voluntary site inspections, identified and corrected more than 8,000 workplace hazards, and provided more than 36,000 workers with training to prevent job-related injuries and illnesses. The stand-down ending in February was sponsored by OSHA, the oil and gas industry's National STEPS Network, and the University of Texas at Arlington's OSHA Education Center. An industry-wide National Oil and Gas Stand-Down is being planned for November 2013. To participate, visitwww.oshastanddown.org/INDEX.cfm.


Product safety recalls

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/

 


June Updates

Former safety manager at TVA nuclear sites sentenced to 78 months in prison for major fraud: Injuries hidden to obtain $2.5 million in safety bonuses

On April 11, a federal judge sentenced Water Cardin, former safety manger of the Shaw Group, to 78 months in prison for deliberately falsifying records of workplace injuries. Shaw, formerly Stone and Webster Construction, held a contract for construction services at several TVA facilities, and used the false injury reports to claim bonuses of more than $2.5 million under the contract.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, issued the following statement:
"This case shows the destructive consequences that purely rate-based incentive programs can have.  Far from promoting safety, the bonus led to a systematic effort to conceal injures.  Injured workers were denied or delayed medical treatment.  Underlying workplace safety issues went unaddressed.  There is a better way.  A comprehensive injury and illness prevention program in which employers commit to finding and fixing hazards can achieve real safety in the workplace."
For more information, see the Department of Justice press release.


Louisiana woman sentenced to 57 months in prison for providing fraudulent hazard waste training and impersonating OSHA official in wake of Gulf Oil Spill

. Connie M. Knight, previously of Belle Chasse, La., was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison in New Orleans federal court late last month for providing fraudulent hazardous waste safety training in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill. Knight was ordered to pay victim restitution in the amount of $25,300.
"OSHA will not tolerate fraudulent training or unscrupulous activity when workers' health and lives may be at stake," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Inadequate training jeopardizes the safety and health of workers cleaning up hazardous waste sites."
On Jan. 24, 2013, Knight pleaded guilty to three felony criminal charges and one misdemeanor criminal charge for creating false identification documents and impersonating a federal official. Court documents explained how, in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Knight impersonated a high-ranking OSHA hazardous waste safety instructor and inspector in order to collect money from individuals who hoped to work on the cleanup effort that followed the spill. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Justice press release.


New York wood shavings manufacturer faces more than $230,000 in fines after violating combustible dust and other safety, health standards

OSHA has cited RWS Manufacturing Inc. for a total of 28 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Queensbury manufacturing plant. The company, which makes wood shavings for animal bedding, faces a total of $233,870 in proposed fines.
Inspections by OSHA's Albany Area Office, begun in November 2012 in response to a complaint, found hazardous accumulations of explosive, combustible wood dust on structural supports, pipes, fixtures, ductwork, equipment and floors. Workers were allowed to smoke in areas where excessive wood dust and wood shavings were present and the plant's dust collection system lacked a fully enclosed motor and grounded or bonded ductwork. The accumulation of wood shavings, as deep as 1 foot in some locations, also posed a fall and slipping hazard.
Additionally, the plant did not develop and implement a confined space entry program and provide training, warning signs and retrieval systems to protect workers in confined spaces. Read the news release for a full list of citations and information on combustible dust hazards and safeguards.


New Hampshire automotive repair and tire chain cited by OSHA for alleged willful, repeat and serious workplace safety violations

A Monro Muffler Brake Inc., facility in Portsmouth, N.H., has been cited by OSHA for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards. The automotive repair, maintenance and tire company faces proposed fines of $221,100.
The willful citation stems from workers who were exposed to potential electric shock from exposed, energized wires in a restroom. Five repeat citations were issued for defective work ladders, unsecured oxygen and acetylene cylinders, and inadequate eyewashing facilities for workers. Additionally, OSHA issued four serious citations for obstructed exit routes, improper storage and disposal of combustible material, damaged gas pressure regulators and inadequately grounded electrical equipment. Please see the news release for further details.


OSHA cites Chicago factory for 28 violations, including unsafe spray finishing operations

OSHA has cited A.W.T. World Trade Inc. for 28 safety and health violations, including failure to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals at the worksite. The complaint-driven inspection was initiated at the Chicago printing machinery manufacturer on Nov. 14, 2012. Proposed penalties total $119,700.
The 27 serious safety and health violations cited include the lack of a written hazard communication program; not providing employees information and training on hazardous chemicals present in the work environment; lack of machine guarding; failure to ensure use of eye protection during welding operations; failing to properly secure and store welding gas cylinders and hazards associated with the use and storage of flammables used in spray finishing operations. For more information, read the press release.


OSHA orders Kansas nuclear power plant to pay more than $260,000 in damages after firing engineer who reported unsafe work practices

 

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OSHA has ordered Enercon Services Inc. to pay more than $261,000 in damages and reinstate a senior engineer who was terminated in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Energy Reorganization Act. An investigation conducted by OSHA staff in Kansas City, Mo., found that Enercon wrongfully terminated the engineer for raising safety concerns during construction projects Enercon Services was part of at the Wolf Creek Generating Station, a licensee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. For more information, see the press release.
OSHA enforces the whistle-blower provisions of the ERA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, maritime and securities laws. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government.


Hazard Communication: Workers must be trained by Dec. 1, 2013

 

OSHA

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This update to the Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The first deadline in the implementation phase is Dec. 1, 2013, the date by which employers must train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheet.
OSHA has prepared a number of additional materials that explain the new changes to the requirements of the HCS, including QuickCards, a training fact sheet (PDF*), a list of frequently asked questions and a brief (PDF*) on labels and pictograms. These and other materials are available on OSHA's Hazard Communications page.


OSHA announces intent to extend compliance date for crane operator certification requirements

OSHA

OSHA has announced that it will propose to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.
OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work on Aug. 9, 2010. The standard requires crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After OSHA issued the standard, a number of parties raised concerns about the qualification/certification requirements. OSHA is considering addressing these concerns through a later separate rulemaking. The agency will propose to extend the compliance date so that the qualification/certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the construction industry. Read the news release for more information.

Join the campaign to prevent fatal falls in construction: New outreach resources available

 

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Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for one third of all work-related deaths in the industry. To stop these preventable tragedies, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Center for Construction Research and Training, kicking off a second year of the Campaign to Prevent Fatal Falls. <

OSHA
In a new blog post, OSHA Director of Construction Jim Maddux discusses the human and economic costs of falls, encouraging local employers, stakeholders and community and faith-based organizations to join the campaign to prevent falls. As he explains, "We know that the real difference to be made is in the communities where workers are getting hurt, and we can't do that alone."

To assist stakeholders in promoting the campaign and reducing fatal falls in their local areas, CPWR also has a new guide(PDF*) on how to launch a local initiative. The CPWR website has a number of campaign resources including an interactive fatality map, training guides and handouts, as well as information on how to sign on as a campaign partner. To learn more about OSHA's Fall Prevention campaign, visitwww.osha.gov/stopfalls, and order or download fact sheets, posters, and other educational materials—including a new wallet card in Portuguese—by calling OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visiting OSHA's Publications page.

 


OSHA issues final rule to broaden exemption for digger derricks in its Cranes and Derricks standard

OSHA

OSHA has issued a final rule that broadens the current exemption for digger derricks used in the electric-utility industry. The exemption has been expanded to include telecommunications work in addition to electric-utility work. This final rule provides a complete exemption from having to follow the requirements of Subpart CC of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The digger derricks exemption is part of the Cranes and Derricks final standard that was issued Aug. 9, 2010.
Digger derricks are pieces of equipment used to drill holes for utility poles. These digger derricks are commonly used by companies to place poles inside holes and attach transformers and other items to the poles. The rule becomes effective June 28, 2013.



OSHA

Better health insurance choices coming in October 2013

Learn more about health insurance choices that will become available when key parts of the health care law take effect. Visit Healthcare.gov for information on a new way to buy health insurance for yourself, your family or your small business that offers more choice, more transparency, and more control over your health insurance options



Product Safety Recalls

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/


May Updates

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. in Canton, Ga., cited for repeat and serious violations following worker fatality

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pilgrim's Pride Corp. with eight safety violations following the death of a worker who became caught in an unguarded hopper while attempting to remove a piece of cardboard at the company's facility in Canton. Proposed penalties total $58,755.
The company was cited for failing to guard machines to protect workers from being crushed by machine parts, and repeat violations were cited for failing to follow OSHA's lock out/tag out standard to protect workers from accidental start-up of machines. For a complete list of citations issued, read the press release.


OSHA cites First Choice Energy after oil field worker killed at Stanley, ND, job site

OSHA has cited First Choice Energy of Minot with nine serious safety violations for exposing workers to unsafe conditions at an oil field drilling and fluid disposal operation in Stanley. The inspection was prompted when a worker was killed after being caught in the agitator of an oil field vacuum truck storage tank on March 14. Proposed penalties total $33,000.
Citations involve not properly protecting workers from open pit fall hazards, lack of energy control and lockout/tagout procedures and equipment, failing to conduct annual inspections of energy control procedures and to train workers on such procedures. Five of the nine citations involve violations of OSHA's confined space requirements. For more information on other citations issued, read the press release.


OSHA fines North Bergen, NJ laundry company $219,000 for safety hazards

OSHA cited Prestige Industries LLC for safety violations that include exposing workers to unguarded machinery and electrical hazards at its commercial laundry facility in North Bergen. OSHA's October 2012 investigation was initiated in response to a complaint and resulted in $219,000 in proposed penalties.
The repeat violations, carrying a $185,500 penalty, include the company's failure to protect workers from unguarded machinery, establish a lockout/tagout program and procedures for controlling energy sources, and provide energy control training for workers who perform maintenance on machines. The same violations were cited in 2012 following a worker's death after being caught in an unguarded machine at its Bayshore, N.Y., facility.
The serious violations, with a $33,500 penalty, were due to electrical hazards; an inadequate confined space program and failure to identify permit required confined spaces; and no hazard communication program, training and material safety data sheets. For more information, read the press release.


OSHA issues final rule to protect workers using cranes and derricks in demolition and underground construction


cranes and derricks final rule

OSHA issued a final rule that applies the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to demolition work and underground construction. Application of this rule will protect workers from hazards associated with hoisting equipment used during construction activities.
This final rule, which becomes effective May 23, 2013, applies the same crane rules to underground construction and demolition that are already being used by other construction sectors, and streamlines OSHA's standards by eliminating the separate cranes and derricks standard currently used for underground and demolition work. The rule also corrects errors made to the underground construction and demolition standards in the 2010 rulemaking. See the news release for more information and a link to the Federal Register notice.


OSHA and Consulate of El Salvador sign alliance to protect workers in Georgia and surrounding states

OSHA and the El Salvadoran consulate in Georgia sign an alliance agreement
From left: Claudia Valenzuela, consul general of El Salvador in Atlanta and Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Atlanta sign an alliance to help protect El Salvadoran nationals working in the southeastern United States. Photo courtesy of Mundo Hispánico.

OSHA and the Consulate of El Salvador in Atlanta, Ga., have formed an Alliance to protect the safety and health of workers in the Southeastern United States.
The Alliance agreement (y en Español) establishes a collaborative relationship to provide information, guidance and access to education and training resources for El Salvadoran nationals working in OSHA’s Region IV, which includes Georgia and seven surrounding states. The focus of this combined outreach effort will be to promote workers’ rights to a safe and healthful workplace, particularly with regards to preventing exposure to fall, amputation and trenching and excavation dangers, as well as electrical hazards, and to help them understand the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.


Free workplace violence seminar available

Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported. Workplace violence can strike anywhere, anytime, and no one is immune. On May 15, OSHA and the University of Texas at Arlington OSHA Education Center will offer a four-hour seminar on workplace violence prevention.
The event will include guest speakers, an OSHA update and emergency action planning, prevention techniques and active shooter preparedness. The seminar is designed to provide best practices to prevent workplace violence and strategies when encountering an active shooter scenario. Participants may join in person at the University of Texas at Arlington or remotely via the web at no cost. Registration information is available atwww.uta.edu/ded/wpv/.


Vermont brewing company sets industry workplace safety benchmark


On-site Consultation Program

First recognized by OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program in 2010, the Long Trail Brewing Company welcomes another brewery to the program. Long Trail subsidiary Otter Creek Brewing Company followed its parent company's example and raised the SHARP flag at their Middlebury, Vt., brewery. Long Trail and Otter Creek are two of only three breweries in the country actively participating in SHARP. SHARP recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP singles it out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
In 2012, Long Trail and Otter Creek were able to achieve SHARP recognition by working with OSHA's On-site Consultation Program. The On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential services to small and medium-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. Prior to their on-site consultations, Long Trail and Otter Creek did not have an injury and illness prevention program in place to protect their workers. As the business expanded, the senior management realized that the lack of such a program would hinder its future growth and place employees at risk. In less than four years of working with the On-site Consultation Program, Long Trail successfully implemented injury and illness prevention programs at both breweries and transformed the companies' attitude toward workplace safety. For more information, see the Long Trail Brewing Company  success story.


OSHA schedules meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health

OSHA will hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 23-24, 2013, in Washington, D.C. ACCSH, established under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, advises the secretary of labor and assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on construction standards and policy matters.
The full committee agenda includes remarks from Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health and updates from the Directorate of Construction. In addition, the committee will consider six items from the proposed Standards Improvement Project IV and discuss occupational exposure to beryllium, two possible technical amendments and corrections to the Cranes and Derricks standards, the Federal Agency Procurement Construction, Health and Safety Checklist, and the two-hour introduction to the OSHA 10- and 30-hour training courses. Read the news release for additional details.


Construction Industry

New Web page outlines safety precautions to toluene exposure


Toluene

OSHA's new Toluene Safety and Health Topics Page provides resources to educate employers and workers about the health hazards associated with toluene and how to prevent them. Toluene, a colorless liquid typically used in a mixture with other solvents and chemicals such as paint pigments, can cause serious health problems in workers who are exposed to it.
Toluene exposures have been studied in nail salons and printing establishments, auto repair, and construction activities. Workers can be exposed to toluene by breathing it in, getting it on their skin, getting it splashed into their eyes, or swallowing it. Toluene affects the central nervous system, eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver, kidneys. OSHA’s toluene Web page contains information on health hazards and protective measures, occupational exposure limits, OSHA standards, risk assessment and other resources.


New maritime safety publications available

Top/Side Handler Safety in Marine Terminals QuickCard

To help keep workers in the maritime industry safe and healthy on the job, three new OSHA publications are now available — including a new guidance document describing "Ventilation in Shipyard Employment," a QuickCard on "Top/Side Handler Safety in Marine Terminals," and a fact sheet on "Working Safely While Repairing Intermodal Containers in Marine Terminals." These resources are available online on OSHA'sMaritime Industry publications page.



Better health insurance choices coming in October 2013

HealthCare.gov: Take health care into your own hands  Learn More

Learn more about health insurance choices that will become available when key parts of the health care law take effect. VisitHealthcare.gov for information on a new way to buy health insurance for yourself, your family or your small business that offers more choice, more transparency, and more control over your health insurance options.



ACCSH Meeting Scheduled

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) will convene at the U.S. Department of Labor, May 23-24, 2013, to discuss items from the Standards Improvement Project IV, proposed corrections to standards for cranes and derricks, and other topics. Additionally, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels will address the committee. The public can submit comments and requests to speak at the meeting until May 16, 2013. Instructions can be found in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) related  press release.


OSHA Launches Temporary Worker Initiative

OSHA has issued a memo to its regional administrators instructing them to modify worksite inspections to ensure temporary workers are adequately protected from hazards. In conjunction with events marking Workers' Memorial Day on April 28, 2013, OSHA stressed the importance of doing more for temporary employees as they too often lack the supervision and training that permanent employees receive. Contractors accounted for 12 percent of workplace fatalities in 2011. For more information, please visit OSHA's website.


Secretary of Labor Nominee Testifies before the Senate

Thomas Perez, President Barack Obama's nominee to head up the U.S. Department of Labor, testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on April 18, 2013. Perez fielded questions from Republicans concerning his current work as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division while Democrats praised his tenure as Maryland's secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. In his testimony, the nominee shared his demand-driven approach to management and how he would apply his experience to the Department of Labor. The committee is expected to vote on Perez's confirmation on May 8, 2013. If approved, his nomination the faces a vote by the full Senate. To watch a recording of the hearing, visit the HELP Committee's website.


Show Off Your VPP Star

If your worksite has been approved for VPP status, don't keep your success to yourself! Invite public officials to come tour your site or, if you've just been approved, your flag raising and celebration. Mayors, congress people and governors are sure to be interested in exploring the difference VPP has made at your site. If you are holding an event for your recent (re-)approval, be sure to the invite the secretary of Labor and local media as well. Sharing the superior safety and health culture created by VPP is one of the best ways to support the program as it allows decision makers to experience it firsthand. VPPPA has created a template invitation for your use. 


Product Safety Recalls

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April Updates

Former safety manager at TVA nuclear sites sentenced to 78 months in prison for major fraud: Injuries hidden to obtain $2.5 million in safety bonuses

On April 11, a federal judge sentenced Water Cardin, former safety manger of the Shaw Group, to 78 months in prison for deliberately falsifying records of workplace injuries. Shaw, formerly Stone and Webster Construction, held a contract for construction services at several TVA facilities, and used the false injury reports to claim bonuses of more than $2.5 million under the contract.

Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, issued the following statement:

"This case shows the destructive consequences that purely rate-based incentive programs can have. Far from promoting safety, the bonus led to a systematic effort to conceal injures. Injured workers were denied or delayed medical treatment. Underlying workplace safety issues went unaddressed. There is a better way. A comprehensive injury and illness prevention program in which employers commit to finding and fixing hazards can achieve real safety in the workplace."

For more information, see the Department of Justice press release.


New Hazard Communication Requirements: Workers must be trained by Dec. 1, 2013


Hazard Communications

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard has been revised to align it with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This update to the Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. Chemical manufacturers and importers are now required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided. In addition, Safety Data Sheets will now have a specified 16-section format.

By December 1, 2013, all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must conduct new training for workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

OSHA has prepared a number of materials to assist employers in complying with the new updates. The Hazard Communication Web page explains the changes and contains a number of materials including: a new fact sheet (PDF*) that reviews the new training requirements, new QuickCards that review the new pictogram label requirements and a brief (PDF*) on labels and pictograms.


OSHA fines Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container Inc. $589,000 for willful violations for exposing workers to amputation hazards from unguarded machinery

OSHA has cited Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container with 11 safety violations, including seven willful and three repeat, for exposing workers to machine guarding hazards at its Hubbard, Ohio, metal container manufacturing facility. Proposed fines total $589,000.

OSHA initiated an inspection of the facility on Oct. 17, 2012, after receiving a complaint that alleged Ball Aerosol continued to expose machine operators to unguarded hazardous machinery, even though the employer had been cited by OSHA for lack of machine guarding on the same equipment in 2009. OSHA's inspection found that the company knowingly permitted workers to operate the machines without proper guarding. The inspection revealed that the guarding was not installed or was removed because it slowed material positioning and production output.

Six willful, egregious citations were issued for inadequate machine guarding over the blades of slitter machines. The citations are being issued as willful because the company certified abatement for machine guarding on much of this equipment in 2009 and had a history of machine guarding violations in the past. OSHA also found that the company knowingly continued to violate agency requirements each time the machinery was placed in operation. Because of the hazards and the violations cited, Ball Aerosol has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. See the news release for the current citations issued against the company.


OSHA cites Mike Neri Sewer & Water Contractor in Elk Grove Village, Ill., with willful violations for failing to protect workers in trench

OSHA has cited Mike Neri Sewer & Water Contractor Inc. for seven safety violations, including three willful, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins and moving soil and chunks of asphalt during trenching operations. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation after an OSHA inspector witnessed apparent cave-in hazards while traveling past a construction site in Des Plaines on Oct. 3, 2012. Proposed penalties total $110,440. Because of the hazards and the violations cited, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

"This is not the first time this contractor has exposed vulnerable workers to dangerous excavation hazards," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "These types of hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year. No job should cost a worker's life due to an employer's failure to properly protect and train workers."

For more information, read the news release.


OSHA cites Salina, Kan.-based Ryan Roofing Inc. after worker paralyzed in fall from roof

OSHA has cited Ryan Roofing Inc. in Salina with three willful safety violations after a worker suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed when he fell 20 feet from the roof of a commercial building the company was replacing in Hoisington on Oct. 3, 2012. Proposed penalties total $115,500.

The willful violations include failing to ensure the integrity of a roof structure employers were working on, to provide and use fall protection systems on a low-sloped roof and to provide training on fall protection to workers. Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, Ryan Roofing has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Read the news release for more information and visit OSHA's Stop Falls Web page for information on fall protection standards.


Falling off ladders can kill: New fall prevention resource available


Ladder safety booklet

OSHA has published a new bilingual English-Spanish booklet on safe ladder use, "Falling Off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely" (*PDF). Developed in partnership with the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Council and Ministry of Manpower, the booklet provides clear, easy-to-follow information about ladder hazards and using ladders safely, featuring simple illustrations and plain language writing.

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and OSHA is working with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda to get the word out about how to "Plan, Provide, Train" to prevent fatal falls. To learn more, visitwww.osha.gov/stopfalls.

On April 10, OSHA, NIOSH and CPWR co-hosted a free webinar on preventing fatal falls in construction, welcoming an audience of more than 700 participants. An archived version is available for view.


OSHA announces safety stand-down at Georgia construction sites April 15-19 to focus on struck-by hazards

OSHA is partnering with construction contractors, the Federal Highway Administration, the state of Georgia and local government organizations to sponsor a one-hour safety stand-down at construction sites around Georgia during National Highway Work Zone Awareness Week, which will be April 15-19.

Workers will voluntarily stop work at construction sites from 7 to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct work zone safety training focused on the prevention of distracted driving, such as texting while driving, and worker injuries from traffic objects and vehicles. Approximately 75 percent of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment, such as trucks or cranes. See the news release for more information.


US Department of Labor re-establishes the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health


Maritime

Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris today announced that he will re-establish the charter of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. Re-establishing MACOSH will allow the committee to continue its important work protecting the safety and health of workers in the maritime industry. Since receiving its first charter in 1995, MACOSH has made more than 100 recommendations to OSHA. The agency used these recommendations to develop guidance products and standards. MACOSH meetings are open to the public. See the news release for more information.


Compliance assistance specialist spreads the word on heat, falls


Water. Rest. Shade. Heat Illness Prevention.

OSHA's Little Rock Area Office joined the Association de Mujeres de Arkansas and other organizations last month to provide local employers, workers and their families with vital information on workplace safety in English and Spanish. Mary Walter, a compliance assistance specialist from OSHA's Little Rock Area Office, answered questions about OSHA's mission, workers' rights, employers' responsibilities and resources available to help keep workers safe and healthy on the job. A Spanish-speaking translator helped her answer attendees' questions about hazards faced by family members working in construction — particularly heat and fall hazards.

Visit OSHA's Web site for more information on fall hazards and heat illness prevention resources.


OSHA reminds employers to post injury/illness summaries until April 30


OSHA's Form 300A

OSHA is reminding employers to post OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2012 and were logged on OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. The summary must be posted between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2013, and should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.

Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in less hazardous industries are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, insurance and real estate sectors can be found at http://s.dol.gov/YP.


New OSHA frequently asked questions available in English and Spanish

In response to questions received from workers, employers and other workplace safety and health stakeholders, OSHA regularly posts new frequently asked questions atwww.osha.gov/OSHA_FAQs.html. FAQs are also available in Spanish atwww.osha.gov/OSHA_FAQsSP.html.

Recently added topics include requirements for recordkeeping and reporting, respirator fit-testing, and access to clean drinking water. Questions also cover workers' rights, employers’ responsibilities and how to get free copies of OSHA resources. For more information visit the FAQs (y en español).


Spanish FAQ page


OSHA industrial hygienist receives top honors

Joseph Coble, an industrial hygienist in OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance in Washington, D.C., has been named a Distinguished Fellow by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. The AIHA Fellow Award was established to recognize members who have made significant contributions to the practice of industrial hygiene through research, leadership, publications, education or public service. Dr. Coble is a certified industrial hygienist with a doctorate in public health and 30 years of work experience as an occupational safety and health professional in both private industry and governmental agencies.


OSHA to host Workers' Memorial Day events around the country


April calendar

In a series of Workers' Memorial Day events on and around April 28, 2013, OSHA's national and regional offices will honor the sacrifices made by those who have been lost, disabled, injured or made sick by their jobs. Workers' Memorial Day is also an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to protecting the health and safety of every worker.

To find a Workers' Memorial Day event in your area, contact your regional OSHA office or visit OSHA's events calendar.



Product safety recalls

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March updates

Hazard Communication resources available to help employers comply with new training and labeling requirements


GHS Hazard Communications

Two new compliance assistance resources are available for employers to assist them in meeting the requirements of OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard. A new a fact sheet (PDF*) discusses the training topics that employers must cover for the initial Dec. 1, 2013 deadline. By this date, employers must train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheet format. In addition, a new OSHA brief (PDF*) explains the new labeling elements, identifies what goes on a label, and describes what pictograms are and how to use them. The brief also provides manufacturers, importers, distributors and other employers with a step-by-step guide to create a label that meets the requirements of the revised standard. The deadline for adopting the new labels and pictograms is June 1, 2015.

OSHA's updated standard, which is aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The revised standard is improving the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. Additional information and resources are available on OSHA's Hazard Communications page.


Study finds a higher rate of roof fatalities among roofers in residential construction: younger, Hispanic, racial minorities and immigrant workers also had higher rates

A new NIOSH-funded study on fatalities in the construction industry suggests roofers in residential construction are among those most likely to die in falls from roofs.


OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign

The study, "Fatal falls from roofs among U.S. construction workers," finds that "the odds of fatal falls from roofs were higher for roofing and residential construction than any other construction sector." Other groups with higher rates of fatal falls from roofs included workers younger than 20 years or older than 44 years, racial minorities, Hispanics, and immigrant workers. Workers in southern regions also had a higher rate of fatal falls compared to the construction industry as a whole. The authors emphasize the need for employer compliance with OSHA fall protection regulations and effective training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand. For more information about preventing fatal falls in construction, visit http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html. The study examined trends and patterns of fatal falls from roofs in the U.S. construction industry over an 18-year period (1992–2009), with detailed analysis for 2003–2009.


OSHA cites Highway Technologies for 10 safety violations after worker killed on guard rail project near Menomonie, Wis.

OSHA has cited Highway Technologies Inc. in Minneapolis for 10 safety – including six willful – violations after a worker died from injuries sustained while working with equipment that came into contact with overhead power lines on I-94 near Menomonie, Wis., on Sept. 17, 2012. Proposed penalties total $448,000.

"Highway Technologies failed to protect its workers from serious electrocution hazards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Multiple instances of the same violation over a period of time clearly demonstrate a willful failure to comply with basic safety and health standards. Employers must take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment."

Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, Highway Technologies Inc. has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure future compliance with the law. For more information, read the press release.


Norfolk Southern Railway Co. ordered to paof Federal Railroad Safety Acty $1.1 million after terminating 3 workers for reporting injuries; Union Pacific Railroad also found in violation

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. has been ordered to pay $1,121,099 to three workers following an OSHA investigation, which found that the company violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. Two investigations, conducted by OSHA staff in Chicago and Pittsburgh, found that three employees were wrongfully fired for reporting workplace injuries.

"The Labor Department continues to find serious whistleblower violations at Norfolk Southern, and we will be steadfast in our defense of a worker's right to a safe job – including his or her right to report injuries," said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. "When workers can't report safety concerns on the job without fear of retaliation, worker safety and health suffer, which costs working families and businesses alike." For more information on this case, read the press release.
In a separate case, OSHA found that Union Pacific Railroad Co. in Pocatello, Idaho, also violated the whistleblower protection provisions of the FRSA and has ordered the railroad to pay more than $309,000 in back wages, benefits, damages and reasonable attorney's fees to a conductor after determining retaliation for reporting a co-worker's work-related injury. For more information, read the press release.


OSHA concludes fatality investigation at San Francisco VA Medical Center research laboratory, issues violation notices

OSHA has issued a notice of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions to the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center after concluding its investigation into the death of Richard Din, a research associate at the center's research laboratory in April 2012. The notice consists of three serious violations for failing to protect laboratory workers researching Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterium that can cause meningitis.

The three serious violations include failure to require workers to use a safety enclosure when performing microbiological work with a viable bacteria culture; provide training on the signs and symptoms of illnesses as a result of employee exposure to a viable bacteria culture, such as meningitis; and provide available vaccines for workers potentially exposed to bacteria. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. For more information, read the news release.


OSHA cites 3 companies after combustible dust flash fire claims lives of 2 workers at Texas work site

OSHA has cited Watco Mechanical Services, Jordan General Contractors Inc. and JP Electric after a combustible dust flash fire claimed the lives of two workers at a Hockley work site. OSHA began its investigation Aug. 19, 2012, at the Watco Mechanical Services work site where workers were conducting blasting operations in the facility's tank and hopper building. Employees were cutting metal with a torch when a fire broke out, killing two workers employed by Magnolia, Texas-based Jordan General Contractors.

The three companies were cited a total of 22 violations, including failing to adequately control fugitive emissions of combustible dust; develop and implement a respiratory program; provide training on the hazards of working with combustible dust; and ensure cutting operations are halted in the presence of combustible dust. Proposed penalties for the three companies total $119,840. See the news release for more information.


OSHA announces interim final rule, invites public comment on whistleblower protections for reporting violations of Affordable Care Act's health insurance reforms


Whistleblower Protection Program logo

OSHA has published an interim final rule in the Federal Register that governs whistleblower complaints filed under Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act protect employees against retaliation by an employer for reporting alleged violations of Title I of the act or for receiving a tax credit or cost-sharing reduction as a result of participating in a Health Insurance Exchange or Marketplace.

If an employee reports a violation of one of these policies or requirements, the act's whistleblower provision prohibits employers from retaliating against the employee. A fact sheet about filing whistleblower complaints under the Affordable Care Act is available at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/whistleblower/OSHAFS-3641.pdf.* For more information, read the news release.


New OSHA Web page warns of hydrogen sulfide exposure

OSHA's new Hydrogen Sulfide Web page warns employers and workers of the dangerous health effects from breathing hydrogen sulfide and provides methods for controlling exposure to this toxic gas.


Hydrogen sulphide Safety and Health Topics page

Hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, is a colorless and highly flammable gas produced in industries such as mining, oil and gas refining, and paper and pulp processing. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate H2S caused 60 worker deaths between 2001 and 2010. The effects on workers' health depend on how much of the gas workers breathe but symptoms can range from headaches, nausea and fatigue to respiratory tract irritation, unconsciousness and death. The Web page explains how training and the use of exhaust/ventilation systems and personal protective equipment can protect workers from harmful H2S exposure.


Help for Construction Employers: New fact sheets help employers minimize exposure to silica when using construction equipment

OSHA has published seven new educational resources to help employers control exposure to respirable crystalline silica at construction sites. The new fact sheets provide information for employers and for workers who operate handheld grinders, angle grinders, jackhammers, rotary hammers, stationary masonry saws, handheld masonry saws or vehicle-mounted drilling rigs.


Masonry saw uses water to control silica dust
Handheld masonry saw using water for dust control while cutting cinder blocks. (Photo courtesy of New Jersey Department of Health.)

Respirable silica dust is a common hazard at many construction sites. Workers who breathe high concentrations of silica day after day are at risk of developing silicosis, a progressive and potentially disabling lung disease. Exposure to silica dust also can increase the risk of lung cancer and has been linked to other diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney and autoimmune diseases. For more information on the hazards of silica exposure in the construction industry, visit OSHA's Crystalline Silica Safety and Health Topics Page and read OSHA's educational publication on Controlling Silica Exposures in Construction (PDF*).


General Industry Digest

OSHA's General Industry and Construction Digests spell out summary of OSHA standards (available free)

OSHA's General Industry Digest and Construction Industry Digest summarize safety and health standards to help employers, supervisors, workers, health and safety committee members, and safety and health personnel learn about OSHA standards in the workplace. The two digests contain summaries of OSHA standards that are frequently cited or cover particular hazardous situations in general industry and construction. The General Industry Digest includes updated information on revisions to General Industry standards since the digest was last published in 2001. A Spanish-language version of the Construction Industry Digest(PDF*) is also available.

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Special Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health meeting scheduled for March

OSHA will hold a special meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health March 18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. ACCSH will consider a proposed rule to update OSHA's standard on accident prevention signs in construction based on updates to national consensus standards.

The meeting will be held from 1- 4 p.m. in Room N-3437 A-C, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210. Committee members outside of the Washington, D.C. area will participate over the phone. The meeting is open to the public. Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by March 8. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. ACCSH advises the secretary of labor and assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on construction standards and policy matters. For more information, read the press release.


Construction Industry

OSHA reminds employers to post injury/illness summaries


OSHA's Form 300A

OSHA is reminding employers to post OSHA's Form 300A, which summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2012 and were logged on OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. The summary must be posted between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2013, and should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in less hazardous industries are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, insurance and real estate sectors can be found at http://s.dol.gov/YP. Read the news release for more information on recordkeeping requirements.


Product safety recalls

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/


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..Last Updated on 09/24/12