OSHA CITES MANUFACTURER FOLLOWING FATALITY CAUSED BY FAILING TO SECURE EQUIPMENT
OSHA has cited Atlanta Cap Manufacturing, Inc., and proposed
penalties totaling $61,650 following the investigation of a fatal
accident at its Norcross plant.
The accident occur on Dec. 28, 2000, when seven employees
positioned themselves in front of a two-fork pallet with a
hand-powered jack handle and began moving a 5,500 pound machine.
As they guided the equipment down a ramp, the wheels of the
pallet caught on a crack in the concrete floor. The machine
shifted and toppled forward off the pallet. Six employees were
able to escape, but the seventh was crushed as the machine fell.
"If the employees had used a forklift and properly secured the
machine, this tragic accident could have been avoided," said
William Grimes, acting area director for OSHA's Atlanta-East
office. "While investigating the circumstances surrounding this
incident, the investigator observed other serious safety
violations and was authorized to do a complete inspection of the
baseball cap manufacturing plant," he added.
Along with citing the company for not using appropriate moving
equipment and for not properly securing the load to be moved,
OSHA issued an additional 17 serious citations.
Violations included failing to have:
- equipment properly wired to electrical breakers;
- ockout/tagout procedures in place so that individual machines
could not be re-started while an employee did maintenance or
- an emergency action plan.
The agency found unguarded machinery, blocked aisle ways, and
exit signs placed above areas where no exit existed. Other exit
signs, properly located, were not illuminated, making it
impossible during an emergency for second-shift employees to find
their way out of the building.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is
substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could
result and that the employer knew or should have known of the
"A breakdown in communication occurred among managers and
employees," Grimes stated. "Top-level management officials were
routinely rotated through this facility every six months without
an exchange of safety needs and requirements. Another factor
contributing to the breakdown was the language barrier. Managers
and employees spoke English, Chinese or Vietnamese, but few were
fluent in more than one language, making it difficult to
communicate safe work practices."
The Taiwan-based company, which employs approximately 100 workers
at the Norcross plant and 600 internationally, has 15 working
days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before
the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
NHTSA REPORTS MAJOR GAINS IN SEAT BELT USE IN STATES WITH NEW PRIMARY BELT LAWS
Seat belt use jumped in 2000 for three states that enacted
primary belt use laws during the year, according to newly
released state statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of
Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
In states with a primary seat belt law, motor vehicle occupants
can be stopped and cited by law enforcement officials for not
wearing their belts whether or not another violation has
occurred. In states with secondary enforcement, the vehicle must
have been stopped for another offense before the occupant can be
cited for not wearing a belt.
States reporting the highest estimated increase in shoulder belt
use since 1999 were Alabama (from 57.9 percent to 70.6 percent),
New Jersey (from 63.3 percent to 74.2 percent), and Michigan
(from 70.1 percent to 83.5 percent).
"We are extremely gratified to see these significant gains in
seat belt use," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y.
Mineta. "Every day lives are being saved through primary seat
belt laws, and most recently through legislation that became law
last year in Alabama, New Jersey and Michigan."
Seat belt use rates at or above the DOT's desired performance
goal of 85 percent belt use for 2000 were reported by California
(88.9 percent), Puerto Rico (87 percent), New Mexico (86.6
percent), and Maryland (85 percent).
The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina,
Oregon and Washington all reported use rates greater than 80
percent. The lowest use rate reported was 47.7 percent in North
Twenty-eight states reported increases in seat belt use both from
1998 to 1999 and from 1999 to 2000. The largest was Alabama,
which went from 52 percent in 1998 to 57.9 percent in 1999 to
70.6 percent in 2000. Only three states decreased in both years.
The largest decrease was reported by Mississippi, which dropped
from 58 percent in 1998 to 54.5 percent in 1999 and to 50.4
percent in 2000.
Twenty-one states reported seat belt use rates at or above 71
percent, the nationwide estimate for overall front seat passenger
shoulder belt use in 2000. This national estimate is based on the
Fall 2000 National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), which
is conducted by NHTSA.
The latest state-by-state estimates of seat belt use were derived
from surveys conducted by state agencies in accord with uniform
NHTSA survey methods. Forty-eight states, the District of
Columbia and Puerto Rico reported to NHTSA on their seat belt use
rates for 2000.
The newly released NHTSA statistics are contained in a research
note on the agency's web site at: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa
OSHA CITES MANUFACTURER FOLLOWING A FATALITY AS THE RESULT OF AN EXPLOSION
OSHA has cited Blacklidge Emulsions, Inc., Gulfport, Miss., and
proposed $71,500 in penalties following the investigation of a
fatal accident that occurred Jan. 18, when an employee began
cutting a hole in a storage tank.
The fatality occurred when an assistant plant manager attempted
to cut a hole with an acetylene torch in a tank containing
asphalt emulsion - an adhesive used in highway paving -- to
visually survey the amount of emulsion remaining in the tank. The
assistant plant manager was helping other employees estimate the
remaining contents of the 16-foot high, 10,000 gallon capacity
tank when he stepped on a pallet and ordered a forklift operator
to raise him to the top of the tank.
"No safety precautions were taken before the cutting operation
began," Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson area director said. "The
assistant plant manager's attention was twice called to a warning
sign on the side of the structure which stated the contents were
flammable or combustible. In disregard of safety procedures he
lit the acetylene torch and began cutting, causing an explosion
that blew him 93 feet away."
OSHA issued 17 serious citations including failing to:
- conduct atmospheric testing and assure that storage tanks were
free of combustible material or vapors before cutting;
- follow proper purging procedures;
- properly vent storage tanks;
- protect employees from fall hazards.
The company, which employs 35 workers and had six at the accident
site, has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and
proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and
Health Review Commission.
OSHA's proposed penalties are based on the violation of safety or
health standards, rather than the extent of injuries suffered or
loss of life.
NIOSH COMPENDIUM SUMMARIZES FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM LEAD INVESTIGATIONS
A new publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health (NIOSH) summarizes 31 investigations in which NIOSH made
recommendations to protect workers from potentially harmful
job-related exposures to lead. Work settings ranged from bridges
and shipyards where lead particles were generated by abrasive
blasting, to an Army depot where employees were exposed to lead
from solder in repairing night goggles and laser range finders.
The investigations were reported from 1994 to 1999 under NIOSH's
health hazard evaluation program, in which NIOSH responds to
requests from workers, worker representatives, or management to
evaluate occupational health concerns at individual work sites.
The new compendium, "Health Hazard Evaluations: Issues Related to
Occupational Exposure to Lead, 1994 to 1999," provides a concise,
handy overview of NIOSH's findings and recommendations from the
individual case reports. It also includes a list of key studies,
textbooks, and standards for preventing job-related lead
Results from health hazard evaluations provide employers and
workers with practical suggestions for addressing concerns at
those individual sites. The results also provide NIOSH and other
researchers with new information for assessing and solving
similar concerns at other workplaces.
Findings from the 31 investigations illustrate that:
Workers may be at risk of potentially hazardous exposures
anywhere lead is present on the job, not just in traditional
settings like shipyards and battery manufacturing plants. For
example, the NIOSH investigations confirmed worker lead exposures
in a remodeling project where old paint was sanded from a
historic house and at a hospital radiation laboratory where
radiation-shielding molds were made.
Workers' families may also be at risk from lead dust or
particles inadvertently carried home on the worker's clothing or
skin, or from lead materials that are used in some home-based
businesses such as electronic component repair.
Often, lead exposures can be significantly reduced through
simple, inexpensive measures, such as basic improvements in
ventilation and use of good work practices.
Copies of "Health Hazard Evaluations: Issues Related to
Occupational Exposure to Lead, 1994 to 1999," DHHS (NIOSH)
Publication No. 2001-113, are available from the NIOSH toll-free
information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674). The
publication also is available on the NIOSH web site at
INTERNATIONAL CHEMICAL SAFETY CARDS (ICSC) UPDATED
If you ship dangerous goods to Europe, you must include
International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC) information with your
shipments. This information is also helpful in the development of
The ILO Health and Safety Information Center in Geneva has
updated the collection of ICSCs. There are now 1198 cards in
English, available in HTML format with links to referred risk and
safety phases, risk notes, danger symbols and also in PDF format
for printing. The collection can be found at
Also included are some useful lists:
- Risk Phrases
- Safety Phrases
- Risk Notes
- EC Danger Symbols
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
web site at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcs/icstart.html contains
the ICSC cards in the following languages: Chinese, English,
Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian,
Russian, Spanish Swahili and Thai. Note that there are two
English language versions available on the NIOSH site: the
international version published by WHO/European Union and the US
National Version made available by NIOSH.